Tue | Jun 2, 2020

Gov’t mulls re-entry of stranded Jamaicans

Published:Thursday | April 9, 2020 | 12:29 AM

The HOLNESS administration is contemplating what it describes as a “controlled re-entry” of Jamaicans who have been stranded overseas and those who have a strong desire to return home.

Jamaica closed its borders to incoming passengers on March 24 owing to the threat posed by COVID-19.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness indicated that any plans to reopen the borders for Jamaicans to come home could not cater to large numbers of people.

“It cannot be a wholesale re-entry,” the prime minister warned while speaking yesterday at Jamaica House.

He told journalists that a protocol to allow for re-entry was under consideration but it would require a major logistical undertaking.

“Those protocols would entail state quarantine. For that to happen, we need to establish the rooms. It requires our ability to test people coming in,” said the prime minister, noting that additional personnel would be required to carry out that task.

Holness said that he has instructed the foreign affairs and national security ministers to coordinate and give oversight to the proposed plan.

The Gleaner reported on March 26 that some 150 seasonal Jamaican hotel workers who normally travel on HB-2 visas to work in various hotels in far-flung United States cities had missed the deadline to return home. At the time, they were stranded in an airport in Atlanta, Georgia, as they tried to make their way home.

Dozens of Jamaican cruise ship crew members are also stranded on vessels.