Stranded TT players look to return home tomorrow
President of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA), Andrew Lue, is hoping the 15-member delegation stranded in the Dominican Republic following the six-day Caribbean Youth Table Tennis Championship will get to travel home tomorrow.
The young players and other delegation members were due to fly home on Thursday but were forced to remain in the Dominican Republic because of a one-day industrial action by the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association.
The JTTA boss said he is working with the president of the Dominican Republic Olympic Association (DROA), Juan Villa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Sport as well as the Jamaican embassy to book the earliest flight possible.
The next available flight out of the Dominican Republic is tomorrow and Lue is hoping to get confirmation of their departure by today.
“Mr Juan Villa has been tremendous in getting us the accommodation here at the Olympic hostel. He also got us transportation from the airport (when the flight was cancelled). He will also help us get to the airport when our flight is confirmed.
“I have spoken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who contacted the embassy here and the chargé d’affaires reached out to me.
“We hope we will get a flight confirmed through diplomatic channels. The chargé d’affaires is working to get us a flight out at the earliest possible date. The first available flight with regular space is on Sunday,” Lue said.
He pointed out that the immediate need is food, as they have to be funding meals from their pockets and finances are running thin. However, the Ministry of Sport has promised to reimburse the members on their return home, Lue said.
“Since yesterday (Thursday) we have been ordering meals and going to the supermarket. All expenses have to be funded out of pocket by individuals and the association.
“We are looking to get some financial assistance and the Ministry of Sport has assured us that any expenses incurred will be reimbursed when we reach home,” the JTTA boss said.
He added that the athletes are handling the situation well but are eager to return home.
“They are not too badly affected. They are making the most of the situation here at the Olympic hostel. There is a pool and games room and they are making the most of the facility until we can leave,” he said.