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Thursday 14 December 2017
Local

Ministry promises to bring nationals home

Some of the devastation in other Caribbean islands after Hurricane Irma hit. Pictured here is St Maarten

The Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs is promising to bring home citizens stranded in a number of Caribbean islands which were ravaged by Category Five Hurricane Irma.

Yesterday, an official said locals were responding to their advertisement to call the 868 715 2154 and were providing names of individuals who have no means of getting back home after the devastating hurricane which left death and destruction in its wake.

The official who did not want to be named, advised that citizens could send an email to consular@foreign.gov.tt, providing the names of their loved ones, their date of birth, passport information, where this is available, their location and contact information.

The official said the 12 Trinidadian nationals who were airlifted from St Maarten to Antigua on Monday is only the start of their rescue operation. “This is a continuing exercise,” he said.

Among those longing to get out of Tortola, in the British Virgin Island, is Don Ramtoole and five other members of his family, including his wife Susan, son Dennis, Dennis’ wife Jenny, a native of Santo Domingo and their two sons, Dennis Jr and David. Don has been working and living in this British territory for over 20 years.

Yesterday was supposed to be a day of celebration for the Ramtoole family as Don commemorated his 60th birthday. But there was no merriment in the private school which has become their sanctuary after eight hours of constant rain and winds of over 185 kph, pillaged the village in which they reside.

“Today, would have been a normal working day. After work, Susan would have done a bar-b-que or cooked some curry, invited a few friends over and we would have celebrated. But we can’t do nothing.” Instead, he said, they spent the day, rummaging through their apartment, washing and drying what could be salvaged.

“The situation is not nice. There is looting. Prisoners have escaped and they are making mas. On Sunday night, armed police stormed the school where a whole bunch of us are staying, in search of guns, which some people were reportedly hiding.” He said two supermarkets have been opened, but because of the looting, only 20 customers are allowed to enter at a time.

‘We have no gas, no power, all communication lines are down. We have no money. I did not even receive my salary before the bank collapsed. And even if we had money, the supermarket shelves are empty. There is nothing to buy.” He said he was happy that the TT government was making an effort to rescue them and bring them home.

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