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Minister of National Security Stuart Young.

Rishard Khan

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Trinidad and Tobago nationals stranded abroad who are in dire need of financial aid will soon begin getting assistance from the government, Minister of National Security Stuart Young said during a Ministry of Health virtual press conference yesterday.

“In discussions with the Prime Minister this morning, a decision has been taken and he is going to be asking the Minister of Finance to send certain sums of money to our consulates, our missions, our embassies in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States to try and assist how we can with the limited amounts of money sent to the most needy cases and the most legitimate of cases,” he said.

He said he would be working with the country’s representatives in these countries to ensure that the money reaches to those who are most deserving of the aid.

“I would be working with those various consulates, embassies and missions using the lists for requests for exemptions that we have at National Security to try and identify those who may need when they come to those embassies, missions and consulates asking for help.”

He acknowledged the initiative is going to be a “very difficult exercise” and anticipates there would be those who would attempt to abuse the system.

Asked by Guardian Media during the press conference for further information on the amount of money budgeted for the initiative as well as how it would be conducted logistically, Young noted that it was still in “the infancy stages.”

“As it goes along more information would obviously have to be put out so persons would know who qualifies and how they apply etcetera,” he said.

Despite this, he hinted that it would only be for those nationals who briefly left T&T for short visits, “not the ones who were living and carrying on their lives outside in these countries.”

Beginning yesterday and over the next few weeks, Young indicated, over 200 nationals would be allowed to return to the country.

A total of 76 returned from Grenada yesterday and a further 71 will return from Canada tomorrow.

In the next week and a half, 80 more will return from the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East.