By Demion McTair. Updated 11:11 a.m., May 05, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Kingston, Jamaica (ONE NEWS SVG) – Some Vincentian students in Jamaica are concerned about the cost they have to pay for a charter flight home.
The students have been stuck in Jamaica due to the country’s closed borders and the fact that airlines are not operating normal flights to the country as it fights the Covid-19 pandemic.
The students were informed via correspondence received from the Honorary Consul to Jamaica, dated May 5, 2020, that the entire charter would cost US$75,000. The correspondence stated that this is a discounted rate from the US$101, 420.
The correspondence stated that this means that the fare for each person to travel, if 56 persons come on the flight, would be US$1,339.29.
When converted in Eastern Caribbean Dollars, the figure reaches EC$3,616 for a one-way flight.
The correspondence stated that the government is in the process of making arrangements to have LIAT in St. Vincent collect all payments for the flight.
It is not clear, however, if assistance from the government will be forthcoming to offset the charge laid down by LIAT.
Some students have made it clear that neither they, nor their relatives can afford to pay the money at this time.
One News SVG understands that over 70 students expressed an interest in going home.
Under normal circumstances, a one-way flight from Jamaica to St. Vincent would have cost in the region of $400+ USD, and many students would have already budgeted for flights in that price range.
With closed borders and charters being the only viable option out, students from other countries have had to resort to charters for leaving Jamaica.
Recently, UWI Mona students from Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis were able to leave Jamaica through LIAT charters.
For many students, their housing contracts and arrangements will expire on, or about May 15, 2020.
The University of The West Indies, Mona has put all classes for the rest of the semester online, eliminating the need for students to be on the campus.