A United Kingdom Member of Parliament has called on the Trinidad and Tobago Government to put things in place to repatriate T&T nationals stranded in the UK, as they are “burning through their savings”.

Steve Baker, Conservative MP for Wycombe, made the plea during Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Commons in the UK.

Directing his question to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Baker asked what steps were being taken to assist the authorities in Trinidad and Tobago to repatriate T&T nationals stranded in the UK as a result of the closure of its borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Responding to his questions, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Wendy Morton pointed out that T&T closed its borders on March 22 due to Covid-19, and they remain closed.

“Consular support for Trinidad and Tobago nationals remains the responsibility of their Government. However, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office officials are in close contact with the Trinidad and Tobago authorities, and we advise all Trinidad and Tobago nationals to contact their High Commission in London for assistance,” she said.

Baker responded that T&T citizens in his constituency were burning through their savings and terrified about failing to get home to protect their homes and businesses from approaching severe weather.

“Will the minister join me in calling on Trinidad and Tobago to ensure that their citizens get home? I think it is common humanity to enable people to return to protect their homes,” he said.

Morton responded that Baker raised an important point about people in his constituency.

She assured: “The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has alerted the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission to cases of stranded Trinidad and Tobago nationals whom we have been made aware of, and has supported affected individuals to contact the High Commission directly. It is also important to say that we are in regular contact with our counterparts in Trinidad and Tobago.”

One stranded T&T national in the United Kingdom told the Express yesterday that had it not been for a kind-hearted fellow-Trinidadian in the UK, she would have been homeless.

“I ran out of money since July. I have exhausted all my savings. Every exemption request has been met with an automated reply acknowledging receipt. We are banding together over here because this nightmare seems never-ending,” she said.

‘Fairly stable’ rotation

At a news conference on Saturday, National Security Minister Stuart Young reported that as at October 6, 5,284 exemptions were granted to T&T nationals stranded abroad to return home. He said between August 31 and October 6, 1,952 exemptions were granted.

He said there is now a “fairly stable” rotation of repatriation flights, with flights coming in from the United States every ten days.

He said this week flights were expected from New York (Tuesday), Toronto (Wednesday) and Barbados (Friday).

Young said the ministry has been seeing an increase in exemption requests from T&T nationals with dual citizenship or “persons who were living away and now want to return and be domiciled in T&T”.

“They are not the priority. The priority is those who went out on short trips, were expected to come back prior to March, or around March, and are still stuck,” he stressed.

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