Almost ten months after the Lambirds Academy scandal was brought to light, students who claim they paid thousands of dollars to pursue studies at the institution, remain stranded here.
A female student told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) today (Nov.19) that everyone’s patience is running out, because months have passed and nothing substantial has come out of the court cases.
The student said she and her colleagues were recently relocated from the Pastoral Centre in Gros Islet to another place in La Clery, which she said is a bit more comfortable.
But despite this, the student explained to this newspaper that she and her colleagues are anxious about returning home and are still hopeful that they would get back their money in full.
She said officials from the government met with them on Thursday, November 5, to update them on the court case and they were encouraged to remain calm and not to give up.
“We are just hoping that it will come to an end soon, because nothing has changed. We are here with nothing to do, and nowhere to go. We are tired of waiting,” she lamented.
Another male student told SNO that he cant wait for the matter to end, so he too could be refunded in full and return to his family and put this “horrible” incident behind him.
The Nepalese student said that he misses his wife and child who he haven’t seen or spoken to properly for months. He also expressed deep regret signing up with Lambirds, stating that his life has been put on pause.
A female student had also given birth to a child here. The baby is now five months old.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lambirds Academy Dr. Iftekhar Shams was recently cleared of money laundering charges brought against him by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
However, he still faces a human trafficking charge, as well as charges of obtaining by deception.
His attorney Marcus Foster has said that he will be making further applications for his release.
The CEO and two other Asian men have been accused of luring a number of foreigners here, with promises of an education and jobs overseas.
The students are mainly from Nepal, India and the Philippines. They claimed that they each paid US$9, 000 for the courses and US$13,000 to get to St. Lucia, to undertake various courses.
However on arrival here, they were told by law enforcement authorities that they had been duped.
The next court hearing is set to take place on November 26.