Stuart Young. Photo/T&T Parliament
By Sue-Ann Wayow
MORE than 12,000 exemptions have been granted by the Ministry of National Security to nationals wanting to enter Trinidad and Tobago as at February 1.
National Security Minister Stuart Young provided an update on travel exemptions at a press conference on Tuesday.
He said since the launch of the new online system on January 26, 3,260 online applications were received for people seeking exemptions to return, adding that there were some in the system before who have not yet reapplied.
Young said before the online launch, there were 8,259 applications.
On the first day of the online system, there were 1,676 applications and by the end of the second day, there were 2,171 applications, he said.
He said, “I am asking, where have the 6,888 applications gone?”
The minister said the online system demonstrated those people were really serious about returning to the country given that much more information was required..
“We are not dealing with tens of thousands of Trinidadians stuck outside of T&T. We are not dealing with thousands, stuck outside of T&T,” Young said.
He repeated that the vast majority who were stuck outside of the country when the borders were closed last March due to the Covid-19 pandemic have returned.
Young said among the online applicants were people who left late last year for various reasons and T&T nationals who live abroad but now wanted to return home.
The minister said there were 12, 338 return exemptions granted as at February 1 and within a two-week period, hundreds of exemptions were granted.
“It is always contingent on, the ability to quarantine people on entering T&T,” he said.
Young admitted that certain areas in the online application system needed adjusting and said government was attempting to deal with the system.
Concerning the request by farm workers in Canada requesting to come home, Young said 229 local farm workers decided to remain in Canada. He some of them who were granted permission to return home, decided to stay in Canada just before they were about to board the flight home.
And referring to people working in the oil and gas sector, Young said provision was made to allow travel for these workers between T&T and Guyana and Suriname where the energy sector is taking off.