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Stuart Young, Minister of National Security

The Ministry of National Security has issued statement indicating that it is in the process of trying to help nationals of Trinidad and Tobago back home from their current overseas locations, including cruise ships.

According to the release issued this morning, the Ministry says bringing citizens back home is contingent on the country’s ability to manage quarantine numbers, especially given the fact that it has received thousands of applications for exemptions from nationals located in every corner of the globe.

The Ministry says as such, a schedule for their return is being organised.

The full text of the Ministry’s statement, follows…

STATEMENT BY MINISTRY OF NATIONAL SECURITY ON ‘NATIONALS ON CRUISE SHIPS’

It is coming to our attention that there may be nationals of Trinidad and Tobago in different numbers, on various cruise ships, in different locations, throughout the Caribbean and elsewhere.

Previously, the official request for exemptions for entry by our nationals on cruise ships, had been provided to the Government by agents of the cruise ship companies, as a collective, with the total request exceeding 430 nationals. We have not been provided with breakdowns per cruise ship and the particulars of where these various cruise ships are located.

We have been making attempts to locate, for example, six nationals on one cruise ship said to be nearby. This task has been challenging as we do not have individual applications from these six but rather, we have a blanket application for 430.

The Government has been managing the public health care system and balancing the entry of nationals based, in great measure, on the capacity of our public health care system to handle COVID 19 cases without being overwhelmed.

Exemptions for the entry of nationals into Trinidad and Tobago have been granted consistent with ensuring that we can manage the numbers being quarantined by the state to ensure the continued protection of the population in Trinidad and Tobago.

We are going to permit the entry of our nationals on these various cruise ships by establishing a schedule which allows us to manage their return, consistent with our resources, to protect them, and the population.

The Minister of National Security, the Minister of Health, Chief Medical Officer and others are discussing how the entry of our nationals on the cruise ships can be scheduled.

We are also managing the return of close to 275 students whom the Government is working on bringing back to Trinidad and Tobago from Barbados and Jamaica.

These nationals are only two categories of persons who have applied for exemption to enter Trinidad and Tobago. We have thousands of applications for exemptions by nationals who are all over the globe.

The Government will continue managing the return of all of our many nationals who are scattered across the globe. We understand the difficulties each national who wants to return is facing.

Our management of Trinidad and Tobago based on expert medical public health advice and science, has taken us this far and we will continue to carefully manage our measures to protect the population of Trinidad and Tobago.