HOPE and gratitude came the way yesterday for young mother Krissa Bissoon, as fellow citizens offered up their resources to help her get back to Trinidad and Tobago from the Bahamas.
But the cost of return is only one aspect of Bissoon’s quandary, as the availability of flights is also near to nil.
Bissoon, 34, has asked for support in accessing an affordable flight back home, where she must immediately seek treatment for cervical cancer.
A quantity surveyor by profession, Bissoon had gone to the Bahamas on February 12 this year to assume duties with a construction firm but was diagnosed just weeks after starting work.
She was this week doubly devastated to have received notice of termination from the company, as well as a letter from her medical team warning that delays in seeking treatment could “affect her chance of a cure and can worsen her prognosis and lead to an untimely death”.
Bissoon is now without an income and is having extreme difficulty keeping up financially, with having to stay on in the Bahamas where “the cost of living is very high”.
National Security Minister Stuart Young last week granted Bissoon an exemption to re-enter T&T, as this country’s borders remain closed to nationals and non-nationals, as part of the Government’s continuing efforts against importation and spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The Bahamas has also closed its borders, but non-nationals may leave where there is opportunity.
Bissoon said yesterday she is heartened and touched that some people have reached out to help but still needs a physical means to get home.
Affordable commercial flights are off the table for now as airlines also remain on lockdown and people abroad wishing to come home must seek other means, including passage on cargo runs. However, the cost of these opportunities have so far been prohibitive, reaching up to nearly US$40,000.
“I am really grateful that some people have reached out and want to assist but I am still unable to source a flight,” Bissoon said.
Bissoon’s case remains urgent as surgery to place her on the road to recovery would cost upwards of US$150,000 in the Bahamas. She is also due for radiation therapy, which is expensive in that country as well.
Bissoon, who said there is much she has come to appreciate about her homeland, is last but not least anxious to be reunited with her five-year-old daughter and husband at their Arima home.
“I know once I get home, I will have to go into quarantine and follow procedure and that is perfectly acceptable. But I have to get home,” she told the Express.
While grateful for support she has received in the Bahamas, Bissoon continues to cope with extreme pain and growing needs due to her illness, and desperately needs to be around family who can care for her appropriately.
She continues to appeal to any individual or company with the resources to assist her in finding an affordable way home.
Guyana group: It’s not easy
A group of mostly oilfield workers who were unable to return home from Guyana when the local borders shut on March 30, are now preparing for the possibility of seeing their families by early next week.
Lester Paul, 63, who is among the workers, said yesterday following exposure of their situation in the Express on Tuesday, they have received word that they are being processed.
“The mood of the group has shifted from a bad one, one that was despondent to something closer to jubilation,” Paul said in a telephone interview.
“Even though we are not home yet, the mood has definitely lifted.”
Information is mostly being streamed via their employers, Paul said, as are some arrangements but the group has also done its own groundwork, in the event that previous arrangements for flights don’t work out.
He said the group fully understood the anti-Covid-19 measure adopted by Government and that its actions appear to have paid off, as this country seemed not to have faced an explosion of cases in its first wave.