National Security Minister Stuart Young says only nationals of Trinidad and Tobago are being considered for exemptions to return to the country.
Spouses, regardless of pending applications for residency, will not be considered at this time.
Young gave this response during the Ministry of Health’s virtual news conference yesterday, when asked about the case of Sabrina Thomas, a Trinidad national who returned from the Disney Fantasy cruise ship on Monday, but her husband, a Jamaican national, was denied entry.
Thomas, a telephone operator with Disney Cruise Lines, had said her husband, Dujan Thomas, a chef on the same ship, was not allowed to disembark despite living in Trinidad since 2011 and having submitted all the documents for permanent residency.
Questioned on the issue yesterday, Young said to allow non-nationals to enter would not be fair to T&T nationals who are being told to wait.
“The answer is simple. We are dealing with nationals. When we had closed our borders on March 17 to non-nationals, there were a number of persons in similar circumstances.
“We made it very clear at that stage that if you are a non-national, you are a non-national at the end of the day, you are not being permitted entry,” he said.
“This is not a usual normal time. If you allow the entry of one non-national, how do you then differentiate with other non-nationals and that wave of influx of other non-nationals? And there are persons who would claim they are living in Trinidad and have applications for residency.
“Put yourself in the shoes of the nationals who there is not question as to their nationality and citizenship of T&T. You are now going to be telling them you are outside, wait to return, but we are allowing non-nationals in. It is quite a simple policy. At this stage, we are only dealing with nationals,” he added.
Young said T&T is not the only country that has taken this stance.
“This is something taking place all over the world. If you are a citizen of the United States and your spouse is not a citizen of the United States, it matters not. We are dealing with it, but we are being fair to our nationals and that is who we have to deal with.”
Contacted yesterday, Thomas said despite the difficulty of being separated from her husband, she understands the Government’s position and accepts it.