By Reginald Dumas
December 10, 2009
There has been a recent rash of quite extraordinary ministerial utterances. First, the scholarship issue. You already know the basic facts. What astounded me among other things were the various government attempts to gloss over the matter with comments that defy my powers of comprehension. Thus the Minister of Public Administration, Kennedy Swaratsingh, could wearily say-‘for the umpteenth time’, he complained, as if speaking to a bunch of not very intelligent first-former-that the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs (MCDCGA) awarded bursaries whereas his ministry awarded scholarships.
I am no longer a first-former, but I suspect I might be one of Swaratsingh’s dunces. So I did what I often do when a new phase of interpretational or etymological darkness looms: I consulted my dictionary. What did it say? That a bursary is ‘a grant, especially one awarded to someone to enable them to study at university or college’. And a scholarship? ‘A grant or payment made to support a student’s education.’ Tell me if you see any essential difference between those two definitions and, if so, what. Careful now, because you may end up like me, at the bottom of Swaratsingh’s class.
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