Barbados takes in Trinidadian travellers after Trinidad rejects them

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Barbados takes in Trinidadian travellers after Trinidad rejects them

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

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BARBADOS — Thirty five Trinidad and Tobago nationals returning from England on Monday were taken in by the Government of Barbados after they were left stranded with the closure of their country's borders.

According to Trinidad's Daily Express, Attorney General of Barbados Dale Marshall made the disclosure during a televised interview on Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) on Monday night.

The news outlet reported that the Barbadian government had reached out to the Trinidad and Tobago government about the matter, but Trinidad and Tobago Minister of National Security Stuart Young, at a news conference, reiterated that the country's borders were closed, and there would be no exemptions except for the "most crucial of circumstances".

"The Trinidad and Tobago nationals arrived in Barbados this evening and they were immediately were treated to special protocols. The entire machinery of government kicked into operation – the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Tourism and so on. Essentially it is our responsibility that all Barbadians are safe. This presented some challenges for us in relation to this particular situation. Obviously these individuals, having done their travels, intended to go into Trinidad. But the position is that they were not accepting them. We reached out to the government of Trinidad and Tobago during the course of the day to urge that they take their citizens. But the fact of the matter is that they declined to do so," Marshall was quoted as saying by the Daily Express.

"These individuals are not elderly, but they are certainly not the youngest. I understand they are in their 60s. We had to make a humanitarian decision and it was a decision that we felt was principled and correct, ensuring at all times that Barbadians were safe," Marshall added, noting that his country does not have a legal responsibility to accept individuals other than its own citizens.

"Therefore, technically speaking, we could have denied them landing rights into the Barbados, but that would have meant that they would have had to return to England. We had no way of knowing what the situation would be for them in England when they returned. And so it was a question of weighing what our options were. We felt that we were in a position to adequately receive these individuals so long as they were put immediately into mandatory quarantine and that's what we have done," the Daily Express reported him saying.

The news outlet reported that the 35 Trinidad and Tobago nationals were screened by Ministry of Health officials immediately upon arrival and placed in quarantine at a location funded at their own expense, not at the expense of the Barbados government.

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