The wound of being refused entry into their homeland still cut deep for the 33 Trinidad and Tobago nationals who yesterday showed love for Barbados but expressed anger over the lack of compassion from their own government.
“The anger that I felt when I entered that centre (National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua), I felt the same anger this morning because I felt we were treated unfairly.
“I felt that Mr Stuart Young feels he owns Trinidad and Tobago to say who can come in and cannot come in and that’s the anger I feel still today,” said Ann Ramdial, who disclosed she had to be rushed to hospital on Saturday night for high blood pressure.
She and her husband, Philip, spoke to the media shortly after departing the National Racquet Centre where they were quarantined for 14 days.
The 33 nationals were all discharged yesterday and most looked relieved to finally return to the comfort of their homes.
Ramdial described the National Raquet Centre is an unacceptable facility for quarantine, adding they were at risk for other diseases as they all shared bathroom facilities and there were no sinks in the kitchens.
“All of us could have gotten some illness, maybe not the Covid, but some other communicable disease.
“I felt very angry about that because the facility is nothing that will prevent any communicable disease. It is not a centre suitable for quarantine because we had to share bathrooms and toilets,” she said.
“The bathrooms that Mr (Terrence) Deyalsingh talks about executive bathrooms, I don’t know what are executive bathrooms for him.
“We had to climb four metal steps to get into the bathroom and shower curtains are the zebra patterned ones you will get in the $10 store, no way it was executive bathrooms,” she told the Express.
She said there are two kitchens in the facility with no sinks.
“Imagine to have two kitchens with no sinks. If you slice a piece of cheese or peel an orange you need to wash your hands. We had to go in the toilet sink to wash our hands. We had to make our own tea and coffee and we had to take the kettle to the toilet sink or outside the building to fill it,” she said.
Ramdial said the pain of being refused entry to their country still hurts.
“To tell your citizens that you cannot come into the country and stay put where you are. I still feel the hurt and anger and my health was deteriorating whilst I was in there because I spent a night in Mt Hope Hospital because my pressure was high and today maybe I might have to go back to Mt Hope again because I feel the same anger that I felt when I entered this centre here,” she said.
She was discharged from Mt Hope after 6 a.m. and taken back via ambulance to the Racquet Centre.
Ramdial said one member of the group lost her sister-in-law and she could not leave to attend the funeral or support her family.
“The first day was a shock and now we are leaving and you think you would be happy but it wasn’t a happy occasion,” she said.
Race talk explained
Meanwhile, her husband, Philip Ramdial, said he was in tears to finally return to his South home.
He said he was “comfortable” at the centre but did not feel safe.
Ramdial said the experience was “bittersweet” as he too criticised the lack of care from the T&T Government.
He said the Government and people of Barbados deserve thanks and he shared a photograph of the group holding up a banner which read “Thank you Barbados” which was taken before they left the centre.
“While they (the T&T Government) may be right they supposed to do things right also… We felt a sense of not belonging to the country and we were hoping they would have been a little more caring, a little more compassionate of our journey which I feel up to now they never understood where we went, when we went and our journey back,” he said.
Asked if he had any regrets about saying that he believed the T&T Government was not allowing them to return home because of race, Ramdial said he was angry and the words were said out of hate and frustration.
“When nothing else was happening, nothing else seemed to be done for us, I look around and I see 33 people in tears and I was wondering what else, maybe this,” he said.
He said when the story was published in the Express only then decisions were taken.
“Immediately, Philip Ramdial became popular and the race remarks and all these things but so be it, I think it helped us along the way because decisions start taking place, you can return home…It was a frustrating journey, having an aircraft and couldn’t get the permit, it took almost three days to sign ‘yes you could enter’,” he said.
“Why torture us?” he asked as he noted permission came on the eve of their departure even though they had paid for the aircraft two days before.
Ramdial said he hopes things can be improved for others who face such a situation.