By Demion McTair Updated 11:30 a.m., Saturday, 11 April 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4)
Kingstown, St. Vincent (ON SVG) – St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ first Covid-19 patient, who has since recovered, wants the country’s Sailors and Oil Rig Workers to come home.
In a statement released on Friday April 10, 2020, lawyer, mother and wife, Ranelle Roberts-Williams said “I am making a request to our leaders to assist Vincentian sailors and oil rig workers in returning home during this time of crisis and uncertainty”.
The issue of returning sailors home has been a contentious one as it raises a deeper issue about open or closed borders in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Stories have emerged from countries such as Jamaica which have turned away their people aboard ships.
In St. Vincent, calls have been made by the Opposition New Democratic Party to close the borders to all non-essential travel, but the Party’s Leader, Dr. Godwin Friday doubled down on such calls, requesting that efforts be made to bring home Vincentians working at sea.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has said he will make arrangements for the sailors, so long as the Cruise lines have them tested and pay for their travel home.
Royal Caribbean Cruises, with which over 200 Vincentians work has so far agreed to covering expenses home for the sailors.