Trini stranded in Suriname writes for permission to return home

National Security Minister Stuart Young. -
National Security Minister Stuart Young. -

A SECOND Trinidadian stranded in Suriname has written to National Security Minister Stuart Young seeking his permission to return home.

Attorneys for Ashmeed Syne wrote to Young on Sunday with an application for permission for him to re-open TT borders so he could home. TT borders were closed on March 23 because of the coronavirus threat.

Last Wednesday, Young advised Lawrence Balkaran, another Trinidadian stranded in Suriname, to write to him setting out details why he should be allowed back into TT.

Attorneys Gerald Ramdeen and Umesh Maharaj are representing the stranded group.

In their letter for Syne, the attorneys said he is a bolting technician with Exsol Industrial NV of Suriname and went there to work on the oil refinery turnaround project for the state-oil company, Staatsolie.

He went to Suriname on February 28 and was expected to return when his assignment was completed on March 22. He is paid a per diem of US$40, which goes towards living expenses.

He will soon stop receiving his per diem, and said he has almost depleted the limit on his credit card, with only TT$100 left on it.

Syne is also unable to access funds from any of his TT accounts.

Syne and the others in Suriname, all oil and gas workers, were expected to return to TT on March 22 on a special flight to repatriate stranded Surinamese in this country as well as TT citizens stuck there. The flight was cancelled when the flight crew called in sick and the flight was rescheduled for the next day and the group was told they would be accommodated if the minister gave his approval.

On that day, the order to shut TT borders took effect from midnight to April 30 and the minister refused to give his approval for the flight to land in Piarco, leaving the group stranded in Suriname.

The letter said Syne is the sole breadwinner in his family and his indefinite absence from his family, which includes his wife, a young child, his parents and his aunt, has left him and his family in severe emotional and financial distress.

He said his family is unable to buy food and he, too, will have problems providing for himself because all financial institutions in Suriname have been closed.

The letter also pointed out that the minister has given permission to citizens of the United Kingdom, the United States and citizens of Suriname to return to their respective countries. The letter also mentioned the return of the cruisers which were stranded in Guadeloupe who were allowed to return before the borders were closed, and placed in quarantine.

“Having exercised the power under the Quarantine Act for those nationals onboard the ill-fated cruise ship where there was a heightened and real risk of those persons being exposed and infected with the virus it would be respectfully be a most unreasonable exercise of power to deny entry to a citizen like my client who is asymptomatic to the virus and has been abiding by all the necessary pre-cautions for more than a month.

Syne insisted he will subject himself to any mandatory quarantine order if he is allowed back home.


"Trini stranded in Suriname writes for permission to return home"

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