Following criticism that the Prime Minister’s daughter and Attorney General’s son both skipped the exemption line to return home, National Security Minister, Stuart Young has pointed out that “Approvals were never granted on a first come first serve basis alone.”
He said from day one it was announced that applications would be considered on a case by case basis “and this continues to date.”
Young said “At the Ministry of National Security, a system was developed that considered many factors and prioritised the granting of approvals to enter Trinidad and Tobago. This was always managed, bearing in mind the ability to safely quarantine persons who returned to the country, balanced with the capacity of the parallel health care system’s ability to manage positive cases, without collapsing.”
He said “Approvals were never granted on a first come first serve basis alone. Additionally, at every stage, we maintained a discretion for emergency cases or expedited cases.”
As at December 23, 2020 the Ministry of National Security granted 9,557 exemptions to enter Trinidad and Tobago.
Young said this shows that the vast majority of people who were genuinely stuck outside as at March 22 were granted exemptions to return.
However, he noted that there are still nationals applying to return. “Many were accustomed to going and spending months away and then returning to spend months in Trinidad. They were not nationals who were stuck outside due to going out for a short vacation.”