PORT OF SPAIN – Thirty-five Trinidad and Tobago nationals stranded on the hurricane-ravaged island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands, returned home on Wednesday night.
Among them was immigration officer Jason Mezelie, who had appealed for help from the Trinidad and Tobago Government.
Mezelie, 45, his wife, Shervon Charles and their two-year-old daughter, Jenae, arrived at the Piarco International Airport on a Liat flight at around 8pm.
His mother, Maria Marsely, who had called on the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs to rescue her son and his family, said she was thankful to the Government for responding to her cries.
“I am happy this morning. My son and his family are back home. They are in good health. My granddaughter has an infection but she is okay. About 35 Trinidadians were rescued from Tortola and brought back home. The flight stopped off in St Kitts and then came to Piarco. We were so happy to see them last night,” she said.
Mezelie, who was on a one-year contract in Tortola, was not available to speak with the Express on Thursday, but his mother said he was relieved to be home.
She said about 100 Trinidadians were on the island when Hurricane Irma struck last week.
“But last night 35 returned and I understand the airline was making arrangements to go back for more of them,” she said.
The apartment building in which Mezelie and his family were staying was flattened by the hurricane. The family sort refuge in a hospital, but were asked to leave last weekend.
Marsely said her son and his family went to a nearby church for help.
On Wedsnesday, Marsely said her son called begging for help. He said there were food supplies for a few more days and his daughter was suffering from a throat infection.
Marsely contacted the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs and was informed that a flight was going to the island at 3pm. She was told to contact her son and ensure that his family was at the airport with their passports.
Mezelie told his mother that the authorities on the island had distributed flyers informing victims that the Government was bankrupt and unable to help them return to their respective countries.
“My son called desperate. He wanted to come home and that was when I started seeking help from our Government and I am thankful they stepped in and helped them to come home,” she said.