National Security Minister Stuart Young has advised TT oil and gas workers stuck in Suriname that they must be medically examined before any consideration of an exemption to traverse TT’s borders, to return home, is given. Young told the group’s legal representatives that their situation is not identical to that of the cruise line passengers who, in trying to return home, ended up stranded in Barbados.
While those Trinidadians in Barbados have been medically examined, the 31 workers, who have been locked out for 21 days in Suriname, have not been.
Young also told attorneys for the group that they have completed their period of mandatory quarantine in Barbados – a condition which has not been waived by the TT Government and “is a critical condition in the applicable procedure and protocols with respect to consideration of an exemption to the current border control.”
Young said on Monday the Government has reached out to the Surinamese authorities to request that the group be medically examined. He said they were awaiting further information from the Suriname government. The minister pointed out not only were the TT borders closed but also Suriname’s.
“Nevertheless, before any consideration can be given with respect to the grant of an exemption for your client(s) to enter Trinidad and Tobago, we require them to be medically examined by the equivalent Ministry of Health in Suriname,” Young said. “We are actively following-up with the Government of Suriname on having this exercise carried out and hope to revert soon with the Government’s response.”
Speaking to Newsday, one of the men stranded in Suriname, pleaded with Government to bring them back home. He said they have received no information from the TT consulate in Suriname on the medical examinations. He said they are now running out of food and money and have since started pooling their resources to survive.
“We want to come home too,” the stranded Trinidadian said. “Yes, we have engineers, advance safety consultants and certified petrochemical and refinery inspectors plus accountants and torquing engineers,”
He also said they were prepared to pay for their own plane tickets but needed assistance from the Government to arrange a flight for them. “We may not be able to arrange a flight, as this will have to be arranged and agreed to by both governments to grant airspace to whichever airline can be used,” he added.