Probe underway into Ghanaian student’s death in Cuba- Foreign Ministry

Investigations are underway to unravel the circumstances surrounding the death of a Ghanaian medical Student in Cuba last week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has said.

She said the relevant authorities including the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) which sponsored the deceased, and the Scholarship Secretariat as well his parents, were handling the matter with Cuban officials.

Ms Botchwey made this known on Wednesday when she held a meeting with Ambassador of Cuba to Ghana, Pedro Luis Despaigne Gonzalez and some Cuban officials at her office.

The meeting which was at the instance of the Cuban Ambassador was to enable Mr Gonzalez to deliver a letter from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.

The late Erasmus Klutse was a second year medical student of ELAM (Latin American School of Medicine) Cuba.

According to initial social medial reports, he died on Friday May 7, 2021 allegedly due to non-availability of an ambulance and delay by the Cuban health professionals to attend to him as well as general discrimination against him.

Although, Ms Botchwey said the allegations were false, according to some briefs on the matter she had received, there was the need to wait for the final report on the ongoing enquiries before conclusions could be made.

“We received the news of the death of Klutse with a lot of concern but what is important is that he was not denied any form of medical attention. There have been a few conflicting stories, but I received some briefs on the matter and I know that the relevant authorities were dealing with it”, she said.

Ms Botchwey, therefore, charged the Ambassador to make available to the ministry the full report once the probe was completed so the matter would be laid to rest amicably.

The letter from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla to his counterpart, Ms Botchwey was to seek Ghana’s vote at the United Nations meeting scheduled for June 23, with respect to the US embargo on Cuba.

According to Ms Botchwey, Ghana would do what was necessary at the meeting and commiserated with the country on the socio-economic impact of US decision on Cuba especially during the COVID-19.

Touching on other matters, she said the ministry was liaising with the relevant Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Ghana for feedback on the stalled negotiations of the draft agreement for the construction of a malaria control bio-larvicide plant in Ghana.  

For his part, Mr Gonzalez denied the allegation that the deceased Ghanaian Students was neglected and assured the ministry of his country’s commitment to ensure the safety of Ghanaian students therein.

On the UN vote, he urged Ghana to give it a positive response as the removal of the blockage meant a lot to Cuba.


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