Rajkumari Seeratan

Grateful: Rajkumari Seeratan

After more than a year of craving sunshine, 70-year-old stranded national Rajkumari Seeratan has returned to Trinidad and Tobago.

A grateful Seeratan told the Express on Tuesday that she was more than happy to be in her home country after months of uncertainty and stress. Currently housed in State quarantine at the UWI Debe Campus, she said she expects to be returned to her home later this week.

“I am so very happy to be back in my home country. I am not in my home yet, I am still in quarantine but just being in my own country, I am so grateful,” she said.

Last December, Seeratan’s four daughters had pleaded for her to be allowed to return home after a 17-month stay in Toronto.

Two months later, Seeratan’s daughters told the Express that she was granted an exemption and returned to Trinidad on February 17.

Seeratan added that she is happy to be reunited with her family, neighbours and dogs.

“One of my concerns was the dogs because I left them in the care of a relative. They told me the dogs are doing well. So again I am so happy that I can see them again and to be back. It was stressful but I am so very grateful,” she said.

Mental health affected

According to daughter Sav Gillick, Seeratan left Trinidad in 2019 to help in a family health emergency. She was due to return in April but was unexpectedly trapped by the Covid-19 pandemic and Trinidad and Tobago’s border closure.

“My mom came to Toronto on August 17, 2019 because my nephew was critically ill, in hospital intubated and ventilated fighting for his life. We all flew to Toronto because he was unwell. My mom flew from Trinidad to Toronto because my sister has another son who is another minor and so she went to give support and to be the guardian of the other son while my sister was in hospital with her other son while my sister was in the hospital for more than one year,” Gillick said last year.

Inflicted with multiple comorbidities, Seeratan’s daughters worried that her anguish as a stranded national would worsen her condition. Each day feeling anxious and desperate to return to her family and dogs in Trinidad, Gillick said they were concerned for the overall mental and physical health of their mother.

“My mom has a few comorbidities, is diabetic and has thyroid problems and high blood pressure. She is now dependent on Canadian healthcare to supply and look after her health needs. Fortunately, we can supply the pharmaceuticals, we wouldn’t allow our mom to go unwell but her mental health is dwindling. She has three dogs who she cares for and they are left unattended. Her home is left unattended and she has family back in Trinidad that she hasn’t seen in a long time,” she had told the Express.

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