Guyanese students permitted to return facing challenges; Cummings promises to address issues

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Caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Karen Cummings

While the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) has permitted a number of Guyanese stranded abroad to return home, reports have arisen of students in locations throughout the Caribbean encountering major difficulties.

According to reports received, over a dozen students in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) have encountered difficulties at the different ports. Students have also complained of not enough assistance being rendered by the Guyanese consulates in these countries.

When contacted by Inews, caretaker Foreign Affairs Minister Karen Cummings at first referred this publication to the NCTF. However, she assured that the Ministry will look into and address these issues.

“Whatever the problem is, it must be solvable. And we will work assiduously to see how we can solve those problems,” Cummings also said.

With the onset of COVID-19, Guyana has followed the lead of other countries in shutting its airspace. However, over 300 Guyanese stranded overseas have made public appeals to be allowed home.

Many of them are in situations where they are running low on funds, have pressing matters to attend to at home or have simply overstayed their welcome at their place of abode.

Last month, the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) finally approved the conditional return of over 300 stranded Guyanese during a special meeting, signalling some definitive action by the highly politicised Task Force.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry subsequently laid down strict terms for Guyanese living overseas to return home, including screening and testing for the coronavirus at a port of entry upon returning.

The Task Force has warned that any person who tests positive for COVID-19 would not be permitted entry into Guyana, and that all arriving passengers must undergo the PCR testing.

The Task Force said that if a pre-test is not available, prior written consent is required from each arriving passenger for quarantine, if deemed necessary by the Public Health Ministry.

The Task Force also emphasised that the applicants or their employers have to bear all costs for their return. Guyanese can visit https://www.minfor.gov.gy/featured/travel-advisory-for-repatriation-of-guyanese-nationals-stranded-overseas/ for more information. Contact can also be made with Foreign Service Officer Comica Johnson on telephone numbers (592) 618-4929 or Office (592) 226-1606, ext 276 for email: [email protected] for more information.