National Security Minister Stuart Young has responded to a claim that TT has “abandoned all of its citizens abroad” by saying the closure of the country’s borders as part of covid19 prevention measures was a “necessary step”.
In a Facebook post, one person who said he is a national abroad and seeking to return home commented that the closure was likely due to panic.
“Globally no other nation has purposely abandoned their citizens blocking them from returning home. This is fundamentally wrong. This giving 24 hours is fundamentally wrong Mr Prime Minister. Am I to depend on other countries to take care of me? All my taxes are paid in TT. I reside here.”
On Saturday, at a press conference, Young announced that TT’s borders will be closed to all incoming international flights from midnight Sunday until further notice. This was put into force with a legal notice Sunday under the Public Health Ordinance.
Young replied to the post and told Newsday: “Countries around the world are shutting their borders. This has a knock-on effect on international travel and flights.
“The Government of TT has not cancelled a single flight, nor has the Government told a single international flight that it cannot come to TT, save for a temporary ban on one regional flight a couple of weeks ago. The flight was subsequently allowed to proceed to Trinidad a few hours later.”
He pointed out that globally, airlines are cancelling flights and some cancellations are due to airline crew calling in sick and there being no crews to fly and man the aircraft.
“We understand the uncertainty that people face as they try to get flights home and the sense of frustration in flights being cancelled. However, these are decisions being made by the various airlines and not the Government of TT. The closure of our border is a necessary step that has been taken based on expert medical advice.”
He added: “International travel has been warned against for weeks with the Government saying only engage in travel if absolutely necessary or in an emergency. Globally, countries are taking decisions that are arguably too late. The Government of TT is committed to doing all that it reasonably can to protect its citizens in this pandemic.”
A number of countries have implemented various types of travel bans and border closures in efforts to combat the spread of covid19. British Airways has scheduled three repatriation flights this week for British nationals.
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