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Bridgewater Residence status under investigation

Bridgewater Residence status under investigation

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The young Surinamese national who is charged with reckless driving leading to the death of Patrice Bascombe had been the subject of a government probe over his residence status before the car accident.

Investigations by SEARCHLIGHT revealed that he was able to enroll at this country’s nursing school without the proper residence permission.{{more}}

Officials at the Ministry of Health are baffled as to how Vivert Bridgewater, 27, got into the St Vincent and the Grenadines School of Nursing.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Lanceford Weekes confirmed that an investigation was launched into Bridgewater’s October 2004 enrollment in the school and they had concluded that he should not have been allowed to do so because of immigration irregularities.

Weekes told SEARCHLIGHT that on Thursday, September 7 – the day Bascombe died of her injuries – Bridgewater was scheduled to meet with ministry officials to put in place a process to correct his residency irregularities. Weekes said that the health ministry decided to take this route because the young man is a CARICOM national but the meeting was postponed due to Bascombe’s death. She died from septic shock (blood poisoning) at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital two days after the car accident at Lodge Village Road. She was the passenger in the car driven by Bridgewater.

Bascombe was set to represent this country in the Digicel’s Rising Star Competition and her death sent shock waves through out the Caribbean.

Bridgewater appeared before acting Chief Magistrate Sharda Bollers on September, 11 and was released on $10,000 bail. The Preliminary Inquiry is set for November 13.

When SEARCHLIGHT inquired of Sister Gloria Bascombe, who was at the time of Bridgewater’s enrollment the Chief Nursing Officer and member of the Admissions Committee she said that she was unaware of any immigration irregularities and insisted that such matters did not come up for discussion when considering his application.

This sentiment was echoed by the head of the committee Jullitte George who told SEARCHLIGHT that a person’s residence status would not have been the concern of the seven-member committee, even though the applicant is a non national. She said that the committee would only seek to determine the applicant’s overall suitability and confirm his academic qualifications. However, sources within the school of nursing insisted that senior staff members had raised concerns about him at the time of his admission into the school.

Acting commissioner of Police Bertram Pompey also confirmed that a police investigation into the matter of Bridgewater’s status was being conducted, spearheaded by head of Immigration Assistant Superintendent of Police Stanford Hamilton.

However Bridgewater’s attorney Bayliss Frederick is adamant that his client has done nothing wrong. He contends that if any immigration or procedural laws were bungled then it is the fault of the Ministry of Health and not Bridgewater.

“He was employed by the government, he was being paid as a student nurse,” Frederick stressed.

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