Pensioners stranded in US plead to come home


joel.julien@guardia.co.tt

“We are bro­ken. We are tired. We feel de­nied. We feel re­ject­ed”.

This was the state­ment made by Wendy Du­mas-John in a video as she and oth­er na­tion­als, strand­ed over­seas, lament­ed the fact that they have not been grant­ed ex­emp­tions to en­ter the coun­try but that the Gov­ern­ment will be al­low­ing Caribbean Pre­mier League play­ers to come in­to T&T for the up­com­ing tour­na­ment.

“We want to come back to our coun­try and live with our peo­ple we are part of the 1.4 mil­lion and we are not be­ing count­ed, for­get that our rights are be­ing tak­en away as cit­i­zens and then non-cit­i­zens are get­ting in­vit­ed to the coun­try, they didn’t have to ask for an ex­emp­tion they were in­vit­ed,” she said.

Du­mas-John ques­tioned the eco­nom­ic ben­e­fit of host­ing the tour­na­ment.

“I don’t un­der­stand why Dr Row­ley says it is good for the econ­o­my be­cause there are no spec­ta­tors, which means no ven­dors, which means no se­cu­ri­ty, which means no clean up, no CEPEP, so how is that eco­nom­i­cal­ly good for the coun­try,” she said.

Du­mas-John said the strand­ed are not not ask­ing the gov­ern­ment to open the bor­ders.

“We un­der­stand why you are not open­ing the bor­ders but we have a right to be home,” she said.

Du­mas-John will be cel­e­brat­ing her 63rd birth­day in two weeks time on Ju­ly 24.

“I am turn­ing 63 and I would have loved to cel­e­brate that birth­day at home,” she said.

Un­for­tu­nate­ly, Du­mas-John an­tic­i­pates she may be spend­ing the day sleep­ing on her friend’s couch for her big day.

Du­mas-John said she has been stuck over­seas for the past four months.

An­oth­er strand­ed na­tion­al Joanne Pan­tin, 61, al­so post­ed a video to ex­plain her plight.

“I am not the same per­son I was and will nev­er be. It is dis­turb­ing for me to see, hear and read that the prime min­is­ter of Trinidad and To­ba­go Dr Kei­th Row­ley has de­cid­ed to have CPL and bring in hun­dreds of peo­ple in­to Trinidad and To­ba­go for this league,” Pan­tin said.

Pan­tin said she has been hav­ing sleep­less nights .

Pan­tin said nu­mer­ous emails have been sent for ex­emp­tions but no re­sponse has been giv­en.

At­tor­ney Kelvin Ramkissoon said he was “jolt­ed” by Pan­tin’s emo­tion­al and jus­ti­fied video.

“Ms . Pan­tin’s pleas were both emo­tion­al and jus­ti­fied. Her po­si­tion is not unique but rep­re­sents that of thou­sands of na­tion­als ,many of whom are with­out prop­er food or shel­ter and who have re­sort­ed to night shel­ters in met­ro­pol­i­tan cities to re­ceive a bowl of soup and a warm place to spend the night,” Ramkissoon said.

“I have heard of tales of ba­bies be­ing fed sug­ar wa­ter for sus­te­nance and our cit­i­zens wash­ing dish­es at restau­rants in NYC to pay for shel­ter,” he said.

Ramkissoon said the Gov­ern­ment’s pol­i­cy is un­doubt­ed­ly based on the need to min­imise the spread of the con­ta­gion and avoid over­bur­den­ing the health sec­tor.

But it can­not be in­flex­i­ble .

Ramkissoon said it is re­gret­table that our cit­i­zens are be­ing pun­ished by ex­er­cis­ing their right to trav­el abroad and for months can­not re­turn to their home coun­try.





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