COOK ISLANDS MEDICAL SCHOOL PERMIT IN QUESTION

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RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, March 22) – Development Investment Board chief executive Mark Short says that cabinet's decision to not support the South Pacific School of Medicine means the school's registration as a foreign enterprise granted in 2005 will now be cancelled.

Short says the process involves giving the school the opportunity to respond to the advice from government, and registration of the school and the report to cabinet must now be looked at by DIB directors.

The medical school's caretaker manager, Dr David Inaho, said yesterday he had received a letter from government early last week informing him of the cabinet decision to not support the school. Inaho described the decision as a disappointing state of affairs.

He and four medical students make up the school based at the Rakahanga Hostel.

Inaho says classes are not running at present due to the dengue fever outbreak on the island.

He says he is waiting for a response from the school's central headquarters in the United States before making any statements to local media. He said he would definitely make a critical and personal response to government's decision before he leaves the island.

Health minister Dr Terepai Maoate did not issue a statement yesterday on the cabinet decision to stop the Rarotonga-based SPSOM from operating ten months after it opened its doors to American students.

Maoate's office relayed that the DPM wanted to wait until the school was notified. Maoate was to issue a press statement on the issue yesterday.

Cabinet's decision was based on a critical report on the school by the health ministry review consultant Debbie Sorensen. It is understood the qualifications of Inaho and others raised concern with the consultants who recommended that government not give the school the three-year charter they were considering.

Many critics of the school and its American founder Dr Larry Sands raised concern over the Cook Islands government giving it approval. - Helen Greig

Cook Islands News: http://www.cinews.co.ck/

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