Ferreira Building in Roseau (left) and Dr. Curvin Ferreira
Ferreira Building in Roseau (left) and Dr. Curvin Ferreira

An over-decade-long pursuit by Dr. Curvin Ferreira may soon become a reality. The Sun has been able to confirm that the consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist has been given the green light to commence the operation of a new medical university as early as September 2022.

In 2010, the former United Workers Party (UWP) candidate for the St. Joseph constituency submitted an application to the Government for permission to establish a medical school in Dominica under the group, Global Education Providers Inc., but was denied.

Then minister of education, Peter St Jean rejected the application on the basis that he was not satisfied that Global would have the adequate material resources for dispensing the requisite educational training. By letter dated 10 August 2010, the Minister communicated the refusal of the application to the group.

St. Jean pointed to the fact that the two schools were already exhausting the country's small medical system, which is required to provide hospital training to the student doctors.

Global sought judicial review

As a consequence of the minister's refusal, Global obtained leave and issued judicial review proceedings against the minister's decision on the bases that he acted ultra vires the Education Act (the "Act") and that his decision was "illegal, irrational and unreasonable."

On December 13, 2010, High Court Judge Bernie Stephenson Brooks upheld an application by lawyers Dwight Horsford and Kondwani Williams for Global Education Providers who asked for judicial review on the decision of the Cabinet. However, Global's claims were dismissed following a hearing as the judge found that the decision to refuse a license could have reasonably been arrived at by the minister taking into account Section 96 of the Act, which deals with the requirements for registration.

Global appealed and lost

Dissatisfied with the learned judge's decision Global appealed. The thrust of its argument was that the minister was only entitled to pay regard to the material resources of Global in the exercise of his discretion under Section 96(g) of the Act and that insofar as he purported to take into account the ability of the State to contribute to the material resources or provide facilities to the students, the minister took into account irrelevant matters and acted improperly or ultra vires the Act.

Accordingly, the main issue on appeal was: whether the learned judge erred in concluding that the minister acted within Section 96(g) of the Act in refusing the application. Importantly, the statutory interpretation of Section 96(g) of the Act was brought into focus.

Nevertheless, the group was defeated again, as the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the previous judge's ruling and dismissed the appeal on May 4, 2018, and made no order as to costs. A 17-page judgment by Justice Louise Esther Blenman with Justices Davidson Kelvin Baptiste and Gretel Thom agreed.

New attempt under Adams Health & Education Services Ltd.

Last week, the Sun's attempt to speak to Dr. Ferreira on the latest development proved futile. However, a member of staff did confirm the new learning institution –St. Joseph University– has no affliction to Global Education Providers Inc., and will be launched under Adams Health & Education Services Ltd.

Vacancies have since been published on the university's social media account and other media outlets.

The Sun will continue to follow this story.