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Students at UWI Mona Campus

The Government will be sending care packages to Trinidad and Tobago students at universities abroad, National Security Minister Stuart Young said yesterday.

At the daily COVID-19 update briefing, Young said the Prime Minister had decided to do so.

The prime minister asked the Ministers of Finance and Education on Monday to get care packages to local students at the UWI campuses of Mona and Cave Hill and for overseas missions to give some relief to students “outside.”

On the possibility of sending care packages for T&T nationals in Venezuela, Young said the measure is meant for UWI students.

He said Government was told that hotels where T&T people were in Venezuela, had placed costs at (US)$10 and families were being asked to send help to those people.

He said later down the line, Government “may” look at sending packages to those people, “but for now we’re focusing on students.”

Regarding claims that nationals in Suriname were “out of food and money,” Young said he had spoken to an attorney for a member of the group as well as their employers who have ensured they have money and are in hotels.

The matter would be raised with the Suriname government.

Young also said UWI’s Debe campus will be ready by tomorrow as another facility for COVID-19 patients.

It will have four dormitories and has other facilities which can be used if there is a surge of patients.

He said the team preparing that venue is the same one that worked on converting the Home of Football (HOF) as a patient centre.

Thanking FIFA and the TT Football Association for offering the HOF, Young said the army prepared the venue in less than 72 hours.

He also thanked all who assisted including regional corporations, ANSA McAL for corporate sponsorship, Beacon, Safetech, Robert Hadad and CEPEP.

Singling out the army, he said personnel have been securing facilities, moving people from decanting centres to facilities and doing engineering and other work silently and efficiently, dismissing perception that soldiers “only shined boots.”

Young also said recent police roadblocks were not based on the Stay-at-Home order and COVID measures.

He said his Ministry and police had discussed challenges ahead and felt roadblocks were necessary.

“Crime and criminality continue affecting T&T, police have the power to have roadblocks at any time based on intelligence or evidence or to check licences and insurance.”

He said the Police Commissioner said body cameras are being worn by officers so the truth would be known in these situations.