Businesswoman and author Sacha Singh, is responding to comments made by the National Security Minister Stuart Young who questioned the legitimacy of chartered flight services being offered to stranded nationals.
Singh, who represents, “A private jet service company out of Miami,” today responded in a video statement to Minister Young’s criticism of advertised return flights. A recent advertisement, in which she is featured, offered flights to Antigua, Jamaica and Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. It stated that PCR testing for COVID-19 would be provided prior to each flight. It also offered first class treatment to passengers.
During a virtual media conference on Monday, Young expressed concern about such advertising, indicating that an investigation would be launched into companies offering flights to citizens without approval.
“I am going to be asking the authorities to investigate whether persons were fooled or tricked into paying their money on the basis that, by the payment of that money they would get approval to enter Trinidad and Tobago.”
“There is no charter company in the world that has the authority to bring people in with the individuals getting approval...I can say without fear of contradiction that this is completely false and misleading,” Young stated.
He asked those outside of the country to be vigilant of such advertisers.
“Persons should not be fooled, especially those outside Trinidad and Tobago, by persons holding themselves out as having a charter company.”
But according to Singh, protocols outlined by the Ministry of National Security were undertaken by the company prior to offering its services. The advertising, she said, was not misrepresentative and did not claim to provide exemptions for payment.
“This private jet company followed the protocols of your Ministry outlines, which was apply as a group, show full receipt of payment and hotel accommodation and they would be entered in. We followed your Ministry’s guidelines We did not get up upon ourselves and misrepresent to say we can get you in come and pay money. That's what you are purporting it to be and that is incorrect,” she said.
She added that she reached out to Young to inform him of the services being offered via an email. However, despite her message to him concerning the many pleas of those stranded, her messages were ignored.
“People are desperate, Minister Young, to get into their country. You have ignored their pleas, ignored their cries, you have ignored all of them. They have not even gotten a response but a generic response, 'Thank you for contacting the Ministry we’ll get back to you shortly.' People have personalized their situations with you."
“Minister Young instead of directing your emotions because I sent you an email to represent the people and tell you about certain things that are factual and you responding by putting something in the papers that I was taking persons money. That is not correct and you should ask yourself as a Minister are you doing the right and humane thing for those citizens that are reaching out to you,” she said.
In response, she questioned the effectiveness of COVID-19 protocols and funding currently in place.
“There are many people who have no food, no jobs, no cars, they are losing their homes and everything. Where is that money and I would like Trinidad and Tobago to see the real issue at hand. The money is not being accounted for, the persons are not getting exempt to come in, the quarantine facilities are not properly equipped with anything to host anyone and the monies are being allocated to what and who? Where is the money going”?
Referring to the Facebook page, Everyttcitizenmatters, on which hundreds of nationals have been sharing their stories, she asked that consideration be given to their statements. The comments made by Young, she said, were “illiterate,” and “naughty.”