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The MS Marina

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“You are taking care of your neighbour’s children because they ran across here, but you have locked out yours.”

This was how mother Claudette Davis described the government’s decision to bar entry to her daughter and 13 other T&T citizens aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Holdings vessel heading for this country. Davis said the government is now housing, feeding and caring for 32 Venezuelans who the coast guard rescued from a sinking vessel that illegally entered local waters.

The 14 are among Caribbean, Central and South American nationals who are employees of NCL Holdings.

In April, NCL began transporting employees from various vessels to the MS Marina, a cruise ship operated by its subsidiary company Oceania Cruises.

It docked in Miami, USA after its passengers disembarked on March 23 as COVID-19 shut down the cruise ship industry.

Davis told Guardian Media that she wrote National Security Minister Stuart Young weeks ago as there was a chartered plane that could have brought her daughter and 168 citizens to T&T. However, with no permission given for the plane’s entry, her daughter remained at sea. After reading the T&T Guardian on Wednesday, in which Young said no exemptions would be granted for cruise ship employees, she called a Ministry of National Security official and left a voice note but there was no response.

“The government is like a good mother as the State did very well in handling COVID-19. But they need to stop being afraid because I feel it is unfair. They cannot throw away and treat their children like that. No matter what, you take care of your children. Those employees are T&T’s children,” Davis said.

The MS Marina is scheduled to leave Florida, Miami on Saturday before arriving in Port-of-Spain on June 11.