Dr Lovell Francis.

Minister in the Ministry of Education Dr Lovell Francis says the Government is doing its best to assist students who are stranded outside of Trinidad and Tobago because of the lockdown of the borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Responding yesterday to questions about what is being done to help national scholarship winners who are desperate to come back home, Francis wrote via Whatsapp, “The ministry has ensured that all financial matters have been settled up to September this year.”

Asked whether students who are due to start school abroad in August will be allowed to fly up to attend in-person classes, Francis said this was “contingent on movements re the border.”

He said the Government was committed to assisting students.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said all questions related to students interested in flying out to start classes abroad should be directed to the National Security Minister Stuart Young.

Several messages and calls were made to Young to comment but these went unanswered. But Young has said several times that each request for entry and departure to and from T&T will be considered on a case by case basis.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of National Security responded to an appeal from pregnant Antiguan student Sheniqua Lewis and granted her approval to leave T&T. However, Lewis said there could be many more students from Caricom countries who are stuck in T&T waiting to go home.

In April, Young advised T&T students who were still outside to “shelter in place,” saying the Government had no intention of reopening the borders at that time. He said then there were more than 330,000 T&T nationals who were overseas at that time who were requesting exemptions to return home. The borders were closed on March 23, less than a week after the Government announced a tightening of COVID-19 restrictions.