Mon | Jul 6, 2020

Trinidad again refuses to take 33 nationals stranded in Barbados

Published:Thursday | April 9, 2020 | 10:58 AM

The 33 Trinidadians stranded in Barbados were left disappointed and hurt on Wednesday after their government again refused to allow them into the country.

According to the Barbados Nation News, the Trinidadians were to have boarded a Condor flight that left yesterday evening for Tobago but the government denied their request to land.

A disappointed Philip Ramdial, spokesperson for the group, told the news outlet that instead, the government has decided to send COVID-19 testing kits to Barbados with the condition that they be tested before being allowed to return home.

“We all broke down in tears when we got that news,” an angry Ramdial was quoted as saying.

He was reportedly speaking via telephone from the St Peter hotel where they have been in quarantine for two weeks.

The news outlet says last Sunday, Barbados Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic announced that the group of Trinidadian had been cleared of any symptoms of the coronavirus.

“It is most vindictive, our government attitude towards us. Since yesterday they were told that Condor was coming to Barbados and continuing to Tobago to pick up the German nationals and they (Condor) had agreed in Barbados to take us to Tobago. You know our Minister of Foreign Affairs say no? This is the reality . . . I am really [upset] with this attitude,” Ramdial reported said.

“We are the only nationals in the world who are denied entry into our country.”

He said his countrymen who were mainly people over 65 all broke down in tears.

In relation to the testing kits, he questioned why they had now been sent two weeks after they were placed in quarantine and days after they had been cleared.

“Barbados don’t have the resources to provide the doctor, the nurse and the results from the lab also.

“And the question is why have that expense of US$2 500 per kit to test people before they can get home although we have quarantined and test virus free. Furthermore, when we get home, I understand we may be quarantined again and that is no problem.”

He pointed out that the group landed in Cape Town, South Africa, and were allowed to depart by the government because they had no symptoms.

They went on to Dubai and then London but were denied entry to Trinidad from there one day after it shut its borders.

Ramdial, 74, who organised the cruise and is travelling with his wife Ann, recalled that he made several pleas to Trinidad officials to let them return.

“They are refusing us but your Attorney General accepted us under humane conditions. Your Prime Minister intervened and negotiated with the hotel for us to stay here and the staff have been excellent. They couldn’t be more receptive and accommodating,” he said.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.