No COVID-19 screening at Caricom Jetty in POS

Story by RHONDOR DOWLAT ROSTANT

A regional boat docked at Queen's Wharf, the Caricom Jetty in Port of Spain on Thursday.

Workers at Queen’s Wharf—the Caricom Jetty in Port-of-Spain—are concerned about the lack of screening for COVID-19 of regional boat crew members and sanitisation of docking boats at the port.

Their concerns were heightened with news of two foreign crew members on-board the Cabo Star having been taken off the vessel, by two separate ambulances, when the ship arrived in Trinidad on Thursday morning.

A crew member exits a regional boat. (Image: RHONDOR DOWLAT-ROSTANT)

Speaking under strict anonymity, a worker assigned at the Caricom Jetty told Guardian Media that on Tuesday this week, crew members from several boats docked from St Vincent and Grenada, as well as the water taxi operating as an inter-island ferry to Tobago, were allowed to disembark their vessels, without being screened by any health official or immigration officer.

“There are no screening tents. We have to go by the word given by the respective boat captains that none of their crew members is sick or displaying symptoms of the COVID-19. We are all at risk,” the worker said.

One of the vessels brought in yam and other ground provisions on Tuesday.

Its crew members were allowed to disembark and move about freely on the Port, even venturing out into the streets of Port of Spain.

The Caricom Jetty in Port of Spain was abuzz with activities, on Tuesday. (Image: RHONDOR DOWLAT-ROSTANT)

The worker added that since the Prime Minister announced that all borders are closed, boats were still allowed to dock on Wednesday and Thursday, including one from Venezuela, which docked on Wednesday.

“The Venezuelan boat left but no screening was done and today (Thursday), there are still a few boats docked and still no screening being done. There is still a buzz of activities on the port and more than ten people gathering,” the worker added.

Port workers are concerned no screening is taking place at the Caricom Jetty (Image: RHONDOR DOWLAT-ROSTANT)

On Thursday morning, passengers who arrived in Trinidad on board the Cabo Star, eventually were allowed to leave the vessel, following the COVID-19 scare.

The vessel also was sanitised.

Passengers said they were originally told they could not disembark.

However, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Inter-island Transportation Company Vilma Lewis-Cockburn, confirmed that the passengers disembarked the vessel.

A message sent to Lewis-Cockburn on the issues at the Caricom Jetty, and requesting clarification on what measures will be implemented, went unanswered, up to press time.