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Despite the agony of cancer, Krissa Bissoon was upbeat yesterday after being granted an exemption from Minister of National Security Stuart Young to return to Trinidad amidst the border restrictions.

Bissoon, a 34-year-old quantity surveyor, took up a job in the Bahamas in February with SMG Construction. Two weeks ago, doctors informed her that she developed cervical cancer. The shut down of SMG due to the Bahamas’ COVID-19 restrictions left the Arima mother without an income.

Bissoon wrote to Young after speaking to Guardian Media on Tuesday, informing him of her tragic situation and provided the relevant documents.

“All I would like to do is get the opportunity to return home and start my treatment as I am unable to afford the procedure here. Attached are the results that I have received thus far. I am begging, please afford me the opportunity to return home. This experience is putting both physical and mental challenges on me. My only form of support at this time is my landlady and her family who can only provide but so much for me in this situation and I am starting to feel as though I am becoming a strain on them. Please, Minister Young, I need help. I have not felt so broken in all of my life,” Bissoon wrote.

On Wednesday night, Young responded, saying that he was prepared to grant an exemption in light of her “unfortunate personal circumstances.”

He requested her proposed method of return and details and advised that on her return, she would be subjected to a medical examination and assessment by the Chief Medical Officer. He further advised that the Chief Medical Officer would determine how she would be quarantined.

“I am very appreciative of the Minister of National Security Stuart Young. The government’s response was remarkable. I am amazed and in awe of their response and compassion for a citizen who is enduring a critical situation. I am very humbled by this.”

While this was great news for Bissoon, she faces other hurdles. Like T&T, the Bahamas shut its borders.

Although SMG is assisting her efforts for an exemption, she has to procure a flight to Trinidad.

Bissoon said that she was financially strapped after paying for several medical visits and treatments in the Bahamas. She said Sagicor reached out to her and will process claims for procedures that were already done. Doctors recommended Bissoon undergo eight weeks of radiation therapy, six sessions of chemotherapy and undergo an ovarian transposition at Doctor’s Hospital in Nassau, which totals US $162,000.

The hospital initially rejected Bissoon’s insurance. Even if that matter works out, she said Sagicor will only cover US$74,000 and she would have the pay the rest. She said it would be cheaper for Sagicor to airlift her out of the country and allow her to seek treatment in Trinidad. Bissoon said T&T has good cancer treatment and would subject herself to an oncologist’s advice on returning home.

“We have really good cancer treatment in the public hospitals that I should be able to access. I need to come out of the Bahamas because I need that family support. I have no one here. I am all alone.”