by Linda Straker
- Cruise line opted asked Government of St Vincent to hold 2 Grenadian workers
- Arrangements are presently being made to have nationals returned from St Vincent
Grenada did not refuse to open its port for the cruise line which dropped off 2 nationals in St Vincent. The cruise line opted to ask the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines to hold the 2 workers there until the Government of Grenada can repatriate them.
Tourism Minister, Clarice Modeste, said that arrangements are presently being made to have the 2 nationals return to Grenada from St Vincent. “The cruise line called us within hours before the arrival time informing us about the two persons. We gave an option for them to use an aircraft which was already on route to Grenada but instead, they choose to ask St Vincent to accept the 2 workers and St Vincent did not refuse.”
“We are preparing for their return because they must be quarantined upon arrival. We did not abandon our people, we will bring them home, we have an obligation to our citizens. The arrangement is ongoing, they will get here,” she said, confirming that other cruise ship workers are expected to arrive in Grenada later in the month.
St Vincent’s Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves, in making this announcement via a radio interview about the two Grenadians who arrived on Wednesday via a Carnival owned ship, claimed that the (Grenada) port was closed, and the authorities would not open it for only 2 passengers. “But Carnival wants to do their work and I said I will treat the 2 Grenadians as if they are Vincentians, but if they have to be quarantined, and they will have to be quarantined, they don’t have any home here and where you don’t have a suitable home or a home at all, the cruise ship has to quarantine you (pay for the quarantine),” he said.
Last week Saturday, 2 cruise lines brought home nationals who were workers aboard. They were granted permission to berth at the Esplanade Cruise ship terminal. All returning nationals must first be placed in mandatory quarantine for at least 14 days. In the case of the cruise ship workers who returned the management of the cruise line reneged on the agreement to financially assist government with the cost.
Grenada closed its borders at all ports of entry as part of measures to reduce and contain the spread of Covid-19. However, once a special request is made and all the protocols are adopted and followed, permission is granted for an aircraft or a marine vehicle to enter.
Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell, has already given a commitment that all returning nationals especially those who are workers on cruise ships will not be denied entry to the island.
“We cannot deny the right of our citizens to return home but on the other hand, our returning nationals must understand, that in the midst of a health crisis, they can potentially spread the virus. Rest assured that the necessary health measures were followed. The arriving individuals were tested and transported directly to mandatory quarantine facilities,” Prime Minister Mitchell told citizens during a national address last Sunday night. “To provide further clarity on the mandatory quarantine for returning crew members, government is now single-handedly bearing the cost of almost $200,000 to provide these facilities because the cruise lines have not accepted responsibility, despite earlier agreement to do so.”
“To those who remain stranded aboard ships and in other countries, we ask you to understand that in dealing with this health crisis, the actions of government must be guided by the capacity of our healthcare system to cope with any potential outbreak of the disease,” he said.