The Barbados military base has been home for 28-year-old Trinidadian Ariane Roach since she arrived there on December 19. Roach has been staying on the base thanks to an arrangement made by the ambassador to Italy in Barbados.
However, with no money and no word from the Ministry of National Security, Roach is at her wit’s end and is appealing to the Government to bring her home.
Roach, who is from east Trinidad, applied for an exemption on June 15 after Italy, where she was at the time, reopened its borders. But she claims that exemption request was only met with an automated email response from the Ministry of National Security acknowledging it was received.
Roach said she visited Italy on January 29 to support her fiancé during a time of bereavement.
She said she was scheduled to return to T&T in time for her birthday on May 20th but was left stranded after both Italy and T&T’s borders were closed.
After receiving no further response from the Ministry of National Security on her exemption request, Roach said she contacted the ministry via its Facebook page and finally received a response. She claimed the responder was quite shocked at the length of time she had applied without getting a response.
“They then told me I would receive an email with my exemption but that did not happen. Only after I followed up two to three weeks later, then I received the exemption letter via email,” Roach told Guardian Media.
The ministry subsequently told Roach to leave Italy on December 18—the date a flight was leaving destined for T&T. Roach said the flight stopped in Germany before continuing to Barbados on December 19.
However, she claims she has heard nothing from the ministry on when she will get a flight back home.
“Even before I came here, I contacted the ministry and asked what would be my position, as I would not want to get stranded for a second time now in Barbados. They told me not to worry, just get to Barbados and a flight would be organised before Christmas on which I would return to Trinidad—this never happened,” Roach explained.
She claims upon contacting the ministry for an update, her calls were met with hostility, disrespect and impoliteness.
“I had the phone hung up in my ears. I was told they did not know what I was speaking about and they had no future information on any flights heading to Trinidad. When I tried again last week, I was also told the ministry was not accepting anymore calls as they were overwhelmed.”
Roach said when she arrived in Barbados on December 19, she found out there was a chartered flight to T&T but when she inquired and offered to purchase her ticket on the spot, she was told by a CAL customer service representative that her exemption was only valid for the day she received it—December of 18.
“I don’t know what is going on and no one is telling me anything. I need to go home,” she lamented.
Roach said she has since even emailed the ministry to ask for financial assistance for her extended stay in Barbados but go no response.
Anyone wishing to assist Roach can email her at [email protected]
Guardian Media reached out to National Security Young via Whatsapp on the matter yesterday but he did not reply to the query.