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Tuesday 11 August, 2020

Next slate of repatriations: Cuba, St Martin, Grenada

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Trinidadian nationals stuck in Cuba and St Martin, along with students at St George’s University in Grenada, are among the next set of repatriation exercises to be undertaken. 

Minister of National Security, Stuart Young, explained the flight path for the repatriation exercise between Cuba and St Martin at the Ministry of Health’s media briefing. This group is set to return today. 

“We’re bringing in persons from Cuba, not only our students, but Caribbean Airlines is doing a flight to Cuba and St Martin today and we’re looking at 29 persons from Cuba and about 17 persons from St Martin have been granted approvals,” he said. 

Young says after the state-quarantine burden is eased, students at the university in Grenada will also be able to return home. 

“This will include some of our students; all of them will be granted exemptions, but just to let the public know, even when we grant these exemptions, there are persons who still choose to stay in place,” he added. 

The Minister says he’s also considering the option of working with Caribbean Airlines to take on repatriation flights from Canada and the United Kingdom. He explained that while the Ministry is trying to handle things on a case by case basis, the number of exemption applications continue to flow in rapidly. 

“Currently, we have 924 applications for persons to come in from the United States, multiply that exponentially, we have 175 from Canada, 146 from the United Kingdom, 55 from other areas in Europe, 50 from Middle Eastern countries and 68 from Far East countries,” he explained. 

His calculations gave a total of almost 3,000 applications for exemptions. 

Expressing empathy over the frustration nationals abroad feel in not being able to return quicker, Young assured that everyone will be able to be home in due course. 

Young says the Ministry has also considered the needs of those wishing to leave Trinidad and Tobago. He encouraged those seeking those exemptions to apply using a special e-mail address: departexemption@mns.gov.tt 

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