YOUNG TALKS

(flashback)Minister of National Security Stuart Young during his address at the Ministry of Health office at Park Street, Port of Spain, on Saturday.  

Stay put.

That was the advice of National Security Minister Stuart Young to all Trinidad and Tobago citizens abroad looking to fly back home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Young said, “We have closed our borders. Making these requests to us from all different quarters, and all different modes asking for an exemption is not going to work at this time. We are being very, very strict for the protection of the people who are here in Trinidad and Tobago.”

Jagdesh Pramsook is one out of the 70 Trinidad and Tobago citizens stranded in Margarita, Venezuela, who are pleading to be brought back home.

The father of two says he feels dejected by the Government’s slow response to get all Trinidad nationals back home.

He says the lack of compassion shown by the Government towards their plight has forced him and his wife to realise they will have to fend for themselves.

Pramsook says phone and Internet connection in Venezuela are inconsistent.

Reaching out to the Express via WhatsApp to share what is happening to the group, Pramsook said while other countries are finding ways to get their citizens out, he thinks the Government is not treating their circumstance with enough urgency.

He said, “The Americans and the Canadians are doing it. If our Government are copying those systems, why don’t they copy this too? Right now, I just really need some good news.”

Pramsook and his wife are staying with friends in Porlamar, Margarita, which is a short distance from the General Santiago Marino International Airport.

He arrived in Margarita on March 8 to visit his wife, who is a Venezuelan national. Pramsook made plans to leave last week Monday, but with the airports now closed, he is trapped on the island.

Young yesterday said he has gotten numerous requests from T&T citizens flying in from different jurisdictions hoping to come home, but reiterated there will be no exemptions.

He said, “When you make those trips you are now putting those countries at risk as well. We are asking persons wherever you are to just stay put.”

Young said while the Minister of National of Security has the power to grant exemptions, it will only be exercised in the “most crucial of circumstances.” Young gave examples in cases such as flying samples for testing or transporting medical personnel. Young has said the Government cannot extract T&T citizens from other countries affected by COVID-19 once those countries have closed their borders.

PM stands firm

Speaking on the radio station i95.5fm on Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley sought to explain the recent actions taken by the Government in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

He said while the Government was trying to encourage the population to understand why it’s doing certain things such as the closing of bars, the Opposition felt the bars should stay open.

“The Opposition Leader must have known that the Venezuelan authorities had shut down the airport in Margarita,” Rowley said.

“So why call on the Government to send a plane to Margarita to pick up people (the stranded T&T nationals). What is the plane going to do? Circle Margarita and send down a rope ladder to pick up the people?

“All they are trying to do is to give the impression that the Government is not doing the best that they can,” he said.

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The current shutdown of non-essen­tial businesses and other restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19 can “possibly” be exten­ded beyond April 15.

So said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday as he lamented that Trinidad and Tobago’s COVID-19 situation is expected to wor­sen in the coming weeks.

BARS, private members clubs, ­casinos, gaming and betting facilities and cinemas will remain closed until April 30.

This according to a new Regulation—The Public Health Novel Coronavirus No 7 Regulation, which was released yesterday and which extends the prohibition on certain activities from April 15 to April 30.

AT least four people born in Trinidad and Tobago have died from complications relating to coronavirus disease COVID-19 in New York, a US state now considered the global epicentre of the pandemic.

WALKING to the grocery, fast food outlet or work is fine, but sitting down in public just watching the world go by will result in a stern talking to by the police and they will not leave until you get up.

PEOPLE who have the COVID-19 coronavirus can die if they wait too long to seek help and their symptoms worsen, says Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram.