ITALIAN-BASED TT women’s pro volleyball player Krystle Esdelle shed tears of joy upon receiving her exemption letter from the Ministry of National Security on Wednesday.
After an array of emails sent to TT’s travel exemptions throughout June and July highlighting her intention on returning home, the 35-year old spiker expressed elation when she received the good news at her friend’s Baronissi apartment.
Since June 5, the pro athlete sent five letters to the Ministry of National Security’s travel exemptions email address attempting to secure a flight to TT. The letters were sent on June 5, July 13, 26, 27 and again on Wednesday.
When contacted via WhatsApp on Wednesday morning, Minister of National Security Stuart Young addressed Esdelle’s dilemma by responding, “I will ask the team to locate her application. There are thousands and we have been dealing with the repatriation of thousands of nationals in a careful and managed manner.”
At approximately 4.30 pm on Wednesday, the six-footer received confirmation she had been granted approval to re-enter TT.
“Tears literally came down my eyes when I read the email. I’ve been holding in so much stress lately that when I received the email, it was a flood of relief. I’m thanking God right now and knew he would have come through for me. I just had to hold strong and keep believing and God really came through for me all the time I was in Italy. The things I went through and experienced, it’s only God that has me here today,” she said with a smile.
Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, Esdelle had been inactive for her Italian club P2P Baronissi, since the league was cancelled in March. She was unable to return home at that time due to contract obligations.
The seasoned athlete was housed at her club’s apartment until May when her contract ended. By then, TT’s borders were closed to prevent further spread of the novel virus. Two weeks later, Esdelle’s apartment was broken into.
Fearful and alone, since her fellow foreign-based players were able to return to their respective countries, Esdelle opted to move out from the club apartment and stay with a friend. Here, she eagerly awaited the reopening of TT’s borders in an attempt to secure a flight back to TT.
However, with the recent resurgence in confirmed covid19 cases worldwide, the pro athlete then opted to email her plight to travel exemptions. An email explaining her situation was then sent to travel exemptions on June 5, to which she received an automated response.
P2P Baronissi paid for the athlete’s services until March and soon after, Esdelle’s finances began thinning out. Frustrated with her quagmire, Esdelle began frantically searching for a way out of Italy en route to TT.
She plans to get tested for covid19, a requirement to guarantee airline travel. Esdelle is presently working out her route to get home.
Prior to receipt of her approval on Wednesday afternoon, Esdelle emailed Young, travel exemptions and the Ministry of Sport outlining her possible plans in detail.
“There are two flights leaving the UK on August 1 to Barbados. And there is a repatriation Caribbean Airlines’ flight leaving Barbados on August 3. Once granted exemption, I will immediately book these flights. I am also 100 percent in agreement and ready to sign permission to be placed into state quarantine for 14 days. I also have no problem signing the necessary quarantine forms prior to boarding the flight if needed,” the email read.
It continued, “Additionally, I am going to pay to have a covid19 test done tomorrow (Thursday), because it is required before I can fly and I can also provide you with it so you will have current evidence of my clean bill of health if needed.”
The talented volleyball player penned an emotional message stating that her mental health has been “heading downhill” and described her current experience as “traumatising”.
Esdelle also indicated her TT bank card was recently blocked and she no longer has access to online banking while in Italy. When she contacted her TT branch on Tuesday, they replied requesting her to be physically present in order to update her card.
According to Esdelle, the remaining cash in her possession can only be used toward her flight expenses.
Speaking from the Italian base hours before gaining approval, Esdelle explained, “I am an emotional wreck right now. I have cash which I am holding onto to get home to pay for the flights to get home. The longer I stay here (Italy) to provide for myself it’s going to be difficult. There has been a constant increase in coronavirus cases globally and I am worried about my visa expiring and not be able to come home,” she said.
Esdelle added, “Due to the virus, I received pay cuts and I’m holding on to the little finances I got to pay for flight to Trinidad but the longer I am here, the tougher it becomes. I am (the) breadwinner for my family because my parents are retired. I really just wanted to be home but things are getting out of my control.”