Home Top Stories Guyanese students permitted to return face major difficulties
…Govt will work towards addressing issues – caretaker Minister
While the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) has permitted a number of Guyanese stranded abroad to return home, reports have arisen of students in locations throughout the Caribbean encountering major difficulties.
According to reports received, over a dozen students in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) have encountered difficulties at the different ports. Students have also complained of not enough assistance being rendered by the Guyanese consulates in these countries.
When contacted by this publication, caretaker Foreign Affairs Minister Karen Cummings at first referred this publication to the NCTF. However, she assured that the Ministry will look into and address these issues.
“Whatever the problem is, it must be solvable. And we will work assiduously to see how we can solve those problems,” Cummings also said.
With the onset of COVID-19, Guyana has followed the lead of other countries in shutting its airspace. However, over 300 Guyanese stranded overseas have made public appeals to be allowed home.
Many of them are in situations where they are running low on funds, have pressing matters to attend to at home or have simply overstayed their welcome at their place of abode.
Last month, the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) finally approved the conditional return of over 300 stranded Guyanese during a special meeting, signalling some definitive action by the highly politicised Task Force.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry subsequently laid down strict terms for Guyanese living overseas to return home, including screening and testing for the coronavirus at a port of entry upon returning.
This was revealed in a statement sent out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Public Diplomacy Department. In the statement, it was explained that Guyanese wishing to be repatriated can complete the form at the link https://www.minfor.gov.gy/…/…/05/Repatriation-Form_Final.pdf and submit same to their closest diplomatic mission or directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A further notice by the Public Health Ministry stated that those persons returning can stay at the Government-assigned quarantine facilities or pay for accommodation at designated hotels. These hotels are Brandsville Apartments at Pike Street, Kitty, Georgetown, and Bacanas Guest House at Charlotte Street, Georgetown.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has also indicated that it would phase out the process of persons returning. The Ministry has said that to control the spread of the virus, there are a few steps which persons would be required to take before and after entering these shores.
After mounting calls and accusations of leaving its people stranded, the Task Force has decided to allow over 300 Guyanese stranded overseas to return. Of these are 19 Guyanese students from the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and 70 Guyanese cruise ship workers attached to Royal Caribbean.
In addition, the Task Force approved applications from four Guyanese in St Vincent to return home via SVG Air. Applications from 10 Guyanese in St Maarten to return were also approved. However, the Task Force took pains to warn that any person who tests positive for COVID-19 would not be permitted entry into Guyana, and that all arriving passengers must undergo the PCR testing.
The Task Force warned that if a pre-test is not available, prior written consent is required from each arriving passenger for quarantine, if deemed necessary by the Public Health Ministry. The Task Force also emphasised that the applicants or their employers have to bear all costs for their return. Guyanese can visit https://www.minfor.gov.gy/featured/travel-advisory-for-repatriation-of-guyanese-nationals-stranded-overseas/ for more information. Contact can also be made with Foreign Service Officer Comica Johnson on telephone numbers (592) 618-4929 or Office (592) 226-1606, ext 276 for email: [email protected] for more information.