A Trinidadian couple stranded in Queens, New York, since mid-March has reached out to the TT Government, pleading to return home.
Mohip Poonwassie and his wife, Anjanie Ramdath, have written to National Security Minister Stuart Young seeking an exemption to be allowed entry into Trinidad.
The Express was told that as at May 8, the Consulate General office in New York had received 52 urgent requests from Trinidad and Tobago nationals to return home.
Poonwassie said he and his wife was on vacation in the United States when the TT Government announced that the borders will be closed to nationals and non-nationals to prevent the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus on March 22.
The couple was scheduled to return on April 5.
He said, "We are T&T nationals who were simply visiting America and now need to return to Trinidad as a matter of medical emergency. Toward the end of our trip here we had planned to stop into Queens for a few days to visit a few Temples before our initial return flight on Sunday 5th April 2020. Since March 20th we have been staying at a good Samaritan's place."
Poonwassie said their limited accomodation had expired and he and his wife were causing an inconvenience to the family.
"Please understand the frustration we face with limited food supplies, sleeping on a couch in a 12ft x 10ft living room, which has now become a burden to this kind gentleman who also face unemployment issues etc, like many Americans today," he said.
Poonwassie said his wife had also contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Consulate General in New York.
The response, "Hello Ms Ramdath and thanks for your message. We read your message with empathy. However, there is no advice that we can give that would be of any additional value at this time, other than to wait out the period during which our borders are closed. No flights are allowed to land until further notice and this is all for the safety of the population, yourself included at a most extraordinary time. Keep safe and be assured that if there is anything we can assist you with, the Consulate General will not hesitate to do so."
Poonwassie said he had missed medical appointments in Trinidad and was concerned about his health.
He said, "As of mid 2019 I, Mohip Poonwassie have been receiving treatment for an ongoing kidney stone matter at the San Fernando General Hospital. Tests & CT Scans done both at Medical Associates Private Hospital in St. Joseph as well as at SFGH showed that 4 stones (2 each) exists in both my Right and Left side kidneys. Phase one (stone shattering) was completed in August-September 2019. I am due to receive Laser treatment to attempt to remove the stones that was unsuccessfully treated."
Poonwassie said while he understood the restrictions he and his wife were prepared to quarantine on arrival to Trinidad.
He said, "Many of us desperately need to attend to family needs back home in Trinidad. We are currently facing Financial, Emotional and Psychological distress. My wife and I patiently await some comforting news soon."
The couple has been in the United States since November 2019.