The fate of the elderly Trinidadian nationals who were cleared by Barbadian health authorities of the COVID-19 virus following completion yesterday of their mandatory 14-day quarantine here, remains uncertain tonight.
Up to the time of publication, the 33 T&T nationals lodging at the Sugar Cane Club Hotel and Spa in St Peter were in the dark as to when they would be allowed back in their native land, which is currently on lockdown with eight deaths and 107 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“No change. Still waiting the decision to be tested or not here. Not sure what’s happening,” leader of the group Phillip Ramdial told Barbados TODAY via phone from the hotel this evening.
Ramdial had said yesterday that their Government intended to have them tested in Barbados first before allowing them back home and that the test kits would be sent to Bridgetown for that to be done.
Now today, he is reporting that the uncertainty and the lack of information from Government authorities in Trinidad are creating emotional problems for the group and their families back home.
“At this time, frustration and total neglect are stepping in. What is required for our return seems puzzling or very unclear to the Government here in Barbados,” Ramdial told Barbados TODAY.
His colleague Yvette McShine who was also in quarantine said this afternoon she felt abandoned by her Government.
“Everybody wants to go home…and what they are saying now is that the Government won’t take us back unless we are tested.But we are all well. Nobody showed any sign of fever or anything because the nurses used to come and test us. So I think that is wasting our kits on healthy people. Just take us back,” McShine insisted.
”It is taking a toll mentally, physically. I mean, my daughter had an exam on line yesterday and she couldn’t do it because nobody knows what is happening to us,” she as her voice shook with emotion.
McShine urged Barbados TODAY to try to contact the President of T&T “because she is a woman…she has a heart,” while making reference to the fact that this media house tried unsuccessfully to get National Security Minister Stuart Young to respond.
On Tuesday, March 24, Barbados became a safe haven for the regional neighbours who had arrived at the Grantley Adams International Airport from London after being barred from entering their homeland when the T&T administration locked down the borders on the Sunday night in a bid to contain the spread of infections.
The Barbados Government COVID-19 Czar Richard Carter said last night that local authorities were willing to facilitate such tests once the kits were provided by Port of Spain.
Carter had said that this country had no intention of testing the T&T nationals once they did not show signs of the virus, explaining that any testing was on Trinidad itself.
Late last month Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced during a news conference, that the T&T nationals would be welcomed back into the country once the 14-day mandatory quarantine was completed here in Barbados.
His revelation came on the heels of a statement by National Security Minister Young that Port of Spain would close its airspace to all international flights until further notice and seaports would also be closed to both nationals and non-nationals.
The announcement came as the twin-island republic confirmed 49 cases of COVID-19 at the time, a massive jump from the nine reported 24 hours earlier.
Addressing the matter as he appeared in a television interview on state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that same evening, Attorney General Dale Marshall insisted Barbados had to take a humanitarian stance.
He noted that while Bridgetown has no legal responsibility to accept nationals but its own, it could not abandon the elderly group that had little to no options.
Marshall said: “The Government of Trinidad took the decision that they did not intend to accept them and we reached out to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago during the day to urge that they take their citizens but the fact of the matter is that they declined to do so.
Efforts to reach the National Security Minister again today proved unsuccessful.
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