Trini in China: Govt lacks empathy to citizens in virus outbreak

Shilohna Phillanders
Shilohna Phillanders

A teacher stuck in China amid the coronavirus outbreak accused the Government of lacking empathy in their remarks about her complaints of feeling ignored by the TT Embassy in Beijing. Fleeing Wuhan city by her own efforts, Shilohna Phillanders is now holed up in her apartment in Shenzheng city, where she has had harsh words for the TT mission and now for the Government.

In a recent Facebook post, she had denied getting help from the mission to leave Wuhan and said diplomatic staff had only belatedly replied to her e-mails, having failed to register her details on their database when she had first arrived a year ago.

Phillanders, in an e-mail to Newsday on Friday, then complained about National Security Minister Stuart Young’s comments on her case made at Thursday’s post-Cabinet briefing, where he had viewed her complaint as being about not getting regular updates from the mission and had thought the embassy had initiated contact with her rather than merely replied to her latest e-mails. She alleged Young’s remarks had meandered around her circumstances.

“He has not only highlighted our leaders lack of empathy but also their inability to accept responsibility and humbly apologise while making amends.”

Phillanders said she was well aware it was not regular for embassies to contact citizens as alluded by Young, and she had not expected the mission to constantly contact her during her time in China.

“I do however expect my embassy to contact me in the case of an emergency within the host country.

“I also do expect my embassy to not misplace my information which was provided to them. I also expect my government officials to have some heart, compassion and empathy when addressing errors that were made by their subordinates.”

Phillanders, in a Facebook post on Friday, was otherwise full of praise for the Chinese authorities in their fight against the outbreak. “Today, Chinese officials came around the community to do checks. They really are working hard to contain this virus! Don't let Western media fool you. The are doing a lot here!”

Otherwise she said she had a healthy temperature of 36.4 degrees Celsius.


"Trini in China: Govt lacks empathy to citizens in virus outbreak"

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