THE Suriname government is prepared to test the stranded TT oil and gas workers for covid19 but has asked that test kits be sent from Trinidad. In an official communique from the Director of Health sent through Suriname’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it said that country would be willing to medically examine the 32 Trinidadians for covid19.
However, it said there was a limited stock of laboratory reagents for molecular testing (PCR) at its central laboratory and would appreciate receiving components to be able to carry out the tests. It sent a list of items it needed.
At a virtual media briefing on covid19 earlier this week, National Security Minister Stuart Young said the Trinidadians stuck in Barbados will be tested when they returned to TT, once they make their way here on their own.
Also earlier this week, Young also advised the Trinis in Suriname they must be medically examined before any consideration of an exemption to enter TT’s borders, to return home, is given. Young told the group’s legal representatives that their situation was 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 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.
“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 on Thursday, one of the men stranded in Suriname, pleaded with Government to bring them back home. 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.