Minister of National Security and MP for Laventille West, Fitzgerald Hinds (Image courtesy Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago)

Newly appointed National Security Minister, Fitzgerald Hinds MP, has no intention at this time to revamp or reorganise the repatriation system for Trinidad and Tobago nationals stranded abroad.

Speaking at the Ministry of Health press conference on Wednesday morning, Minister Hinds said he was briefed about the ongoing repatriation process by his predecessor, Minister Stuart Young.

Fitzgerald Hinds MP was appointed as Minister of National Security in a Cabinet reshuffle on Monday, following the death of Energy Minister Franklin Khan on Saturday. Stuart Young, who had previously held the National Security portfolio, was appointed as the new Energy Minister.

Responding to questions from reporters on whether he will change or revamp the repatriation system, Minister Hinds said he has come to understand the system is in its current form to ensure the health sector is not overwhelmed.

“One aspect of that is the quarantine capacity of this small island state called Trinidad and Tobago, our quarantine arrangements are what they are, and it is with that as well in mind that these controls are maintained,” the minister said. 

He said he has been told by his predecessor that since this country’s border closure in March 2020, hundreds of citizens who were genuinely stranded abroad were repatriated.

He said it is an ongoing activity which Minister Young informed him he would look at on a daily basis.

“So that I would, like him, continue to look at this constantly.  And on the question of revamping or rearranging as the question suggested, I cannot now say whether that will be necessary.  All I can do is assure you that like Minister Young, those of us who have this responsibility in the Ministry will continue to look at it with a keen eye on trying to bring relief to those who are affected by virtue of being outside generally,” Minister Hinds said.