St. Vincent and the Grenadines, on Wednesday, allowed entry to two Grenadians who had reportedly been denied entry into their country after St. George’s refused to open its ports to receive them.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on NBC Radio that the Grenadians along with eight Vincentians who had been on a cruise ship off Barbados, would be brought to SVG, quarantined and tested for COVID-19
Gonsalves said that Carnival Cruise Line had told him weeks ago that they had 112 Vincentians sailor, then later said the number was 91 or 92.
Carnival Glory, a cruise ship, repatriated 92 Vincentians last Saturday.
“Well, yesterday (Tuesday), they told us that they have nine in Barbados in the waters there on a ship. They want to bring them here. They also indicate, I am told, that they have two Grenadians.”
The prime minister said that Bishen John, head of the Port Authority, had told him that the Grenadian government had said that the cruise line could not bring the two Grenadians home on Wednesday.
“… because their port is closed and they have to open it and they wouldn’t open it just for two, they can come on the day next week when Disney is coming,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves said Disney Cruise Line will repatriate Vincentians and Grenadian sailors next Wednesday.
“… but Carnival wants to do their work and I said I will treat the two Grenadians as if they are Vincentians but if they have to be quarantined, and they will have to be quarantined, they don’t have any home here and where you don’t have a suitable home, or a home at all, the cruise ship has to quarantine you (pay for the quarantine),” he said.
The prime minister said this was what was done with the two Vincentians who tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies and their four shipmates who arrived on Carnival Glory on Saturday, having been transferred earlier from another cruise ship owned by the same company.
“I gave the instructions, I said we will received them, threat them as Vincentians,” Gonsalves said, noting that Grenadians can travel to SVG using only an ID card, and also have a right to work in SVG.
“But if you come, you have to quarantine for 14 days. If you just turn up, you will be quarantined for 14 days at your own expense,” he explained.
All persons arriving in SVG must undergo quarantine for 14 days, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So they can come off in St. Vincent at the expense of the cruise company,” Gonsalves said.
“And after the 14 days or whatever time — because we can PCR them if they test negative on the rapid [test] and a few days later they test negative on the PCR — well the Ministry o f Health could determine that they could leave at that point and then they’re like Vincentians everywhere, if you don’t have your own home, you go and check in at a guest house or hotel…
“In other words, I am treating them exactly like Vincentians. They will send the names to me this morning … and my office will send them to the Prime Minister’s office in Grenada to tell them,” Gonsalves said.
He further stated:
“Because if Vincentians were in a similar position, I would expect my partner Keith Mitchell, the prime minister, to keep my nationals for me on the same way that he would keep his Grenadian nationals.
“You notice how we do our work? Straight in accordance with principles and the requisites of the law and all the practical circumstances and our protocols.”