(PRESS RELEASE) — The Government of Saint Lucia has been working closely with the Government of Barbados to see the successful repatriation of eight nationals who were aboard the Norwegian Spirit, docked offshore Barbados since April 9, 2020.
The Department of Health and Wellness authorized the flight to land at the George FL Charles Airport at 11 am, on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 with the Saint Lucian cruise ship employees who will be quarantined for 14 days.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Belmar-George expressed that this effort to bring nationals home was a collaborative one.
“The nationals were received by our team and this was coordinated with the cruise line through the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of External Affairs. They were screened as per our protocols and were taken to the Rodney Bay Public Health Facility where they will be in quarantine for a period of 14 days.”
Minister for Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, Culture and Creative Industries Honourable Dominic Fedee expressed that according to reports, approximately 500 Saint Lucian Nationals are unable to return home. Several restrictions, closed airports and direct calls for cruise ships to remain at sea, prohibit the movement of persons and the ability of the government to intervene.
He went on further to say: “I want our families to know, we are doing everything at a diplomatic level, discussing with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association and airlines to see how we can bring our nationals home.”
With such a vast number of Saint Lucian nationals desirous of returning home at a time when there are travel restrictions globally, Minister with responsibility for External Affairs Sarah Flood- Beaubrun, says this must be done with the observation of health and safety protocols.
“It is a matter of high priority is to see how we can continue to collaborate to bring more of our people home. We assure you our government is working and as soon as it is practically possible and safe to do so we will ensure that all our Saint Lucians are brought home safely,” noted Minister Flood-Beaubrun.
The government continues to call on nationals to make contact with the nearest Saint Lucian Embassy or reach out to the Office of Diaspora Affairs.