Jamaicans in Britain in limbo

There are at least 30 Jamaican nationals who are currently in limbo in Britain and forced to stay there because of the current travel ban on flights to the United Kingdom imposed by the Holness administration because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kate Moyston said that she has been stuck in Britain for the past 13 weeks, with no idea when she will be able to travel home.

“I came to England because of the death of my mother, hoping that I would get back home before the travel ban was imposed. When it was extended, I did not mind, as I had to take care of some things regarding my other estate; but it has been extended again and I am unable to get home,” Moyston, who is anxious to get home to her husband, told The Gleaner.

Moyston said that she has written to the prime minister, the minister of health and wellness, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and the Jamaican High Commission in London, but reports receiving no response.

A spokesperson for the high commission said that there is a list of Jamaicans who are awaiting permission to return home.

The spokesperson, who requested anonymity, said that the high commission has been in contact with the people on the list to keep them abreast of travel developments.

The Jamaican Government imposed a travel ban on inbound flights to Britain in response to swirling fear over a super-contagious UK variant of the coronavirus. The ban has been extended multiple times, with the latest deadline set at April 13.

Seven of eight viable samples sent by Jamaica’s health ministry to the Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad and Tobago were confirmed to be the UK variant, it was revealed in March.

The Boris Johnson administration has also banned most flight, but tougher legislation outlawing non-essential travel comes into force today, March 29, and will run until June 30.

NO SURPRISE

Dr Kevin Brown, Jamaica’s Diaspora Global Council member for United Kingdom North, told The Gleaner that it is no surprise that nationals had found themselves stuck on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean.

“I would encourage Jamaicans who find themselves stranded in the UK to register with the high commission so they are aware of them. This is very important for them to do. Also, they should keep abreast of news coming out of Jamaica about when the ban will be lifted,” he told The Gleaner.

Brown also recommend that stranded Jamaicans in the UK reach out to community organisations if they are in need of assistance.

Moyston revealed correspondence from the Jamaican High Commission in London saying that provisions have been made to facilitate travellers from the UK coming through other countries.

“It is important to note that travellers from the UK coming through other countries will be required to test on arrival and await the test results in state quarantine at their own cost,” the letter read.

“Should you opt to return to Jamaica by way of another country, please bear in mind that country’s own stipulations, including visa and COVID-19 requirements,” it continued.

Information on the travel authorisation process can also be found on www.visitjamaica.com or https://jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm/contact-us.html.

editorial@gleanerjm.com