OPENING back the borders of Trinidad and Tobago could be the “end of hope” for the country as the Covid-19 virus will not be able to be contained.
This was the comment made by National Security Minister Stuart Young at a news conference at the office of the Ministry of Health in Port-of-Spain on Wednesday.
He said, “If we have to open our borders, understand that is the end of hope. It now puts all of us here in TT at considerable risk. This virus respects no boundaries, races, nationality, religion, age it respects nothing that is human.”
Young acknowledged that there were 33 TT nationals in Barbados and others in Venezuela, Margarita and Suriname who were trying to come home.
He said the 33 TT nationals who were in Barbados took a calculated decision to make their way to Barbados after TT had closed its borders on Sunday night.
Young said, “The borders were closed to protect all of us. They made their way back to Barbados.”
He said if the court orders that people be allowed back into TT that would “be an end to the protection that he government has carefully put in place to protect the people of TT. And it would defeat completely the closure of our borders.”
Young said the TT Government was in contact with Barbados and continue to thank them for putting the TT nationals under quarantine.
He said, “If those persons after their 14 day quarantine period in Barbados, do not present any symptoms of the Covid-19 coronavirus and they make their way to Trinidad they will be put into quarantine by the state. We need to keep our border closed to continue to protect all of you now within our borders in TT.
“It cannot be a loophole that we accept that persons make their way from wherever they are in the world on the few remaining international flights to any Caricom country including Barbados and then think that is a jumping point to break the barrier that we put to protect the population of TT and the people within our borders, the Government is resolute that it will not allow that…
“Once a Caricom border is open with access to Trinidad, we have no more border protection.”
Young said, “If these 33 are provided with an exemption once they don’t present with symptoms within the quarantine period in Barbados, we are not going to be bringing them home, if they present here in Trinidad they will be quarantine by the state for another 14 days to protect the population.”
He said, “We will not be using Caricom airports to defeat our entry. It is either we are in or we are out. That is the clear message today.
“It is even more dramatic and dangerous to us here in TT when Caricom countries to have that international travel with the threat to then catapult them into TT and the Government is resolute that that cannot be permitted.”
Young said, “The 33 people in Barbados let them complete their quarantine and then we will consider, but we are not sending for them.”
Regarding the 30 or so nationals in Suriname, Young said hours before TT borders were closed he had informed Suriname Airways that they could bring home the TT nationals there but he said the airline could not have found a crew for the flight.
He said the TT embassy in Venezuela has made contact with 17 people – one in Venezuela and 16 in Margarita.
He was adamant that no exception to travel will be made.
See related stories below: