More than 60 Trinidad and Tobago nationals stranded in Suriname have been given the green light to return home.
This decision comes on the heels of a similar one last week that saw 33 nationals return from Barbados where they were situated for one month following the closure of the country’s borders on March 23.
Speaking at the daily virtual press conference on Monday, National Security Minister Stuart Young said: “I’ve been in constant contact with their attorneys at law, we are going to grant the permission for them to come to Trinidad and Tobago.”
The nationals, who Young said will be returning on their own accord, will be placed in mandatory quarantine upon their arrival.
“As you’ve seen happened with the 33 nationals who returned from Barbados, they will be subject to the chief medical officer and his professional staff and they will be quarantined, there’s no doubt about that.
Stating that the Surinamese contingent is slightly different from the 33 in Barbados who were all in one group, Young said, “This morning I had another company reach out with some workers down in Suriname. They’re all mixed and that presents a different scenario but the Government is allowing them of their own accord to make their way back here, and when they arrive here they will be quarantined by the chief medical officer and his staff as part of our management of our country’s borders.
Border control being maintained
He added that from a national security perspective the nation’s borders continue to be protected via the use of various technologies as well as our hard personnel of the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, Police Service, and Immigration and Customs divisions.
“Early hours this morning we picked up two or three Trinidad and Tobago nationals who had crossed the border, went to Venezuela and were coming back. We caught them with a huge amount of fish and shrimp, of course in complete contravention of not only our COVID regulations by crossing the border without permission, but also the Customs Act. So these operations continue to take place.”
He said another interdiction exercise last week led to the capture of a vessel with Venezuelan nationals.
“They actually had their vessels prepared and when we interdicted them and they threw stuff overboard, they pulled a plug, literally a plug on the vessel for the vessel to sink.
“We worked along with the Venezuelan authorities and they were taken by the Venezuelan authorities into legal custody and taken back to Venezuela to be charged as they should be.
“So, I give you the assurance that we continue to work tirelessly and with all our effort to continue to protect our borders, not only with respect to the COVID regulations but also generally speaking.
He thanked the various arms of national security for working diligently during the country’s time of COVID-19.