Stuart Young

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A 61-year-old T&T national who is stuck in the United States is appealing again for the opportunity to return home but said she fears being victimised for speaking out again.

The woman had made an appeal on Facebook in July and with her visa expiring tomorrow, she said she does not know what else to do.

Begging Guardian Media not to publish her name, she bemoaned, “I don’t want to make matters worse for myself, because I feel honestly I would be victimised. I am sure you are aware of the last occasion; I was having a real emotional time when I made that video. And honestly to me, everybody in the Government who knows my name…I am going to be left last to go home.”

After her Facebook plea, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley stated at a news briefing that emotion could not be the yardstick by which people were allowed to enter T&T.

The woman’s son also took to his Facebook page to dispel his mother’s anguish, claiming she ignored Government’s warning of border closure and chose to stay.

But yesterday the El Dorado native said she did not know why her son did such a hurtful thing especially when he was aware her visit to Miami was to assist his sister who had suffered a stroke.

The woman said her anxiety had increased with the expiration of her visa a day away and no word from the Government even after she claims 12 emails had been sent to the Ministry of National Security. “I just finished speaking to an attorney and with my visa expiring, I will be illegal here. I was advised not to use my phone, or if I have to buy something with my card, don’t use it because if I am picked up by the immigration centre here, I would be placed in a deportment centre,” she said.

She is currently staying with “good Samaritans” in Orlando, Florida who she said took her in after seeing her video on social media, but she said it is only so long she could stay there.

She claimed she was not completely in good health—suffering eye problems, but could not seek medical attention as her travel insurance also expired in July. Worse yet, with her status in the US soon to become illegal, she fears her eye condition could deteriorate.

She claimed she had cataract surgery done on both eyes in November 2019 at an eye centre in St Augustine and has missed all follow-up appointments not being able to return to T&T, which have forced her for the past two months to deal with painful and swollen eyes.

On August 29, the prime minister announced the Government was set to increase exemptions to begin repatriating more of the country’s nationals who had been stuck outside the borders since March.

The Ministry of National Security in collaboration with the Ministry of Health subsequently released an exemption policy last weekend, for people entering T&T at this time.