Trinidad and Tobago migrants to New York and other major cities have been hit hard by Covid-19. Many Trinbagonians migrated in the seventies and eighties and are now in their golden years. The West Indian community in New York has lost many stalwarts as Queens and Brooklyn has been their nesting ground in the tristate area has been severely affected, being first and second respectively in terms of Covid-19 infections and deaths.
Trinidad and Tobago’s first reported death due to Covid-19 was a Brooklyn resident and cultural ambassador, 77 year old Hansel ‘Hannie” Leon who died on Wednesday 25th March and also Conrad Ifill who was a well known baker, who supported all the well known cultural events in Brooklyn.
Broadcaster and media icon Eric St Bernard has lived in Brooklyn for decades and spoke to IzzSO Media about the impact Covid-19 has had on the Trinibagonian diaspora in New York.
Eric St bernard also spoke to the sorrow and challenges being faced by Caribbean peoples on the frontlines in the fight against Covid-19 in New York, as there are scores of Trinidad and Tobago and Caribbean migrant nurses and doctors on the frontlines at hospitals all throughout New York, many of whom have tested positive because of their work on the frontlines.
Eric St Bernard also said he believed that the Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the inequities that existed in the system un the US, whereby the higher numbers of black and latinos who are succumbing to the disease is because of their lack of adequate healthcare provisions. He lamented the fact that the ‘foundation generation’ of Caribbean migrants who paved the way by taking the menial jobs as bus and train drivers and support service jobs as nurses are now the victim of Covid-19 on the frontlines and this needs to be highlighted and their stories of heroism told to the wider diaspora.