Government is communicating with the Surinamese authorities to determine if they could provide assistance to the group of Trinidadian oil and gas workers stranded there.
National Security Minister Stuart Young on Thursday informed attorneys for the group that the TT government was communicating with their counterparts in Suriname, and assured that the matter was a priority for him. The men are represented by attorneys Gerald Ramdeen and Umesh Maharaj. On Wednesday, Young advised the 31 to get tested for covid19 there so that their results can be used in considering whether to bring them home. On Thursday, Young again told them that the TT government had asked their counterparts in Suriname to assist the group to get them tested.
“As soon as the government of Suriname responds I will communicate with you,” he told them. The stranded men have made their own arrangements with the Surinamese government to have a flight bring them back to TT once the minister gives his permission to reopen the borders for them.
But they reminded the minister on Thursday that these arrangements are time sensitive. They said they were working together so that they can be reunited with their families. In an interview with Newsday, one of the men said their stress levels are very high but they are grateful that they are able to communicate with their families, for now.
However, he said things were becoming “unbearable” and several of them are now forced to sharing rations since they are running out of food and money. He said they were frustrated and asked the minister to “send a boat for us” if he had to so that they could come home to their families.
Speaking at a virtual press conference on Friday, the minister provided an update on citizens who were left stranded outside when TT’s borders were shut at midnight on March 23.
Young said testing kits were sent to Barbados for the 35 Trinis quarantined there.
The 35 were on a cruise to South Africa and scrambled back on flights from Oman to London, then to Barbados, but did not get back in time before the TT borders closed.
Young said once the members of the group complete their 14 days quarantine, they will be tested, and once negative, he will give consideration for their return once they’ve made their own arrangements. “The medical team will advise whether they will be put into state quarantine or not,” he said.