ONE of a group of 83 nationals in the US seeking exemptions to return to Trinidad and Tobago has said they are willing to pay for their own 14-day quarantine.
The group is being co-ordinated by Trinidadian professor Dr Alana Belcon, who submitted an exemption request on May 18 for a group of 45, four of whom are babies, and earlier this week a second exemption request for 38 people.
The national, who asked not to be named, left Trinidad three months ago to work in the Middle East. While there the borders were closed and he was under a 24-hour curfew. On May 9 he was able to travel to Florida where he was currently staying with relatives.
"It is so mentally frustrating waking up every day hoping to get some news."
He said the different members of the group were facing different situations including some who came with children for surgery and medical treatment for a week, but ended up spending two months in hotels. He added that luckily the hotels have subsidised their rates, but the people affected are still paying for the rooms and have to buy food.
There were also people who had babies, elderly people and those who required prescription drugs but cannot access them because they do not have medical insurance.
He shared an excerpt from one of the exemption letters sent to National Security Minister Stuart Young: "I am writing this letter to request permission for re-entry into my country, TT. I am an elderly person who has been trapped in Florida, US with my spouse. We came to visit for only two weeks in March before the borders were abruptly closed. This situation has passed the stage of frustration and I am on the verge of giving up on my life. I place myself in God's hands and seek his mercy and intervention.
"My medication is running out, my finances are at an all-time low and my bills are piling up home in Trinidad for a host of services which I did not anticipate as I had planned to be away for only two weeks of holidays. These include security, pet care, and utilities and maintenance of my property."
He said the group has done everything Government has requested and have undergone covid19 testing and received negative results. They have also organised a chartered flight and made contact with a local hotelier willing to have them quarantine at their hotel.
"There is nothing Government needs to do besides allow us to come back into our own country."
At the covid19 media conference on Wednesday, Young said no special preference would be given to nationals who chartered their own flights. The citizen said this was fine, but added that the charter arrangement would be cheaper for each person and would make it easier for Government to control the return of citizens.
He said Young kept repeating the same things he said two months ago about the return of nationals, but Government needed to provide a plan. He suggested that Government start approving exemptions possibly at 100 people per week.
“We just want to get back home.”
Young has reported that more than 330,000 nationals are abroad and thousands have applied to come home.