Minister of National Security Stuart Young said the five charter flights that arrived in the country over the weekend were used to take 62 non-national citizens home.
“What you saw with these private aircraft over the weekend- there were five charter flights that came in on Saturday that was a part of a carefully, planned operation where 62 non nationals who were working on the rig which stayed on longer…they were brought in via a marine vessel, taken straight from sanitized busses up to Piarco and staggered five chartered flights including one or two flights to the Netherlands…so that is what those charter flights were about. There is nothing untoward about it. And it continues.”
Young said using strict safety measures, the non-nationals were allowed to leave the country.
“Let me just assure the population that no one, no one was allowed to disembark the aircraft that is one of our pre-conditions. Even when they were repatriation requests from foreign governments (such as) Canada, the US, Germany and other EU countries. There was always a very strict stipulation that no one would be allowed to disembark the aircraft coming in to Trinidad and Tobago.”
When pictures of the planes landed in Piarco surfaced, persons questioned how persons were allowed to enter or leave the country since our borders are closed. Many wondered if the rule applied only to some citizens.
“I say here without any fear of contradiction that is absolutely untrue, false, and based completed in disinformation an in some cases misinformation to achieve mischief.”
Young said the French military had been requesting overpass flights which the Government allowed because they have some “dependencies”. He said the US has also requested to enter our borders in order to fly some of their citizens home.
“The US military also made a request to fly two aircrafts in to collect persons in South America, and persons in Trinidad, military person and Americans at the embassy, and to take them back out of Trinidad. So of course those were permitted, again with the stipulation that always applies, no one would be allowed to disembark.”
Young said while the country’s borders are closed, cargo planes are still operational as a cargo plane brought in oil and gas equipment over the weekend.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced an extension in the closure of the borders to May 15th, 2020.