A Jamaican woman travelled to the Bahamas on the 17th of March for her vacation with the intention to spen two weeks, before returning home. But shortly after her arrival, Bahamas announced the closure of its borders. Days later on March 20, Jamaica followed suit. So her two-week vacation turned into more than two months and she was left stranded with no way to get home.
“I just finished crying, I’m here, I’m only left with $50 in my pockets, I have no money to buy food. I want to get home to my family. I don’t know what else to do,” she told BUZZ.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, said his administration was looking to exclusively focus its attention on Jamaicans returning to the island by air some time after the first week in June, after it had completed processing the more than 1,500 ship workers who have returned to the country.
“I want to know if it’s only ship workers alone stranded, what about people who went for just vacation on the small island before the port close we don’t hear nothing about them,” she lamented.
She has been staying with two Jamaicans who live in Bahamas, but the impact of coronavirus has caused both of them to lose their jobs, and so they are facing their own financial distress.
“I have my other cards, like my NCB card, but it’s not a Visa card, so I cannot access any funds from that card here, so the money I travel with for two weeks is finished,” she said.
The 32-years-old call centre employee said she was granted a leave of absence from her job, but its security is tentative.
“I stopped getting paid from my vacation up on the 29th [of March], so instead of my company firing me, they put me on leave of absence. Even this morning, I have to contact my supervisor to ask her if she went to HR, to make sure everything is in place so when I get home, I can work,” she said.
She said she has applied to return to the island through the immigration portal link, jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm, used to facilitate the re-entry of Jamaicans under the Government’s controlled re-entry programme. However, after applying more than a month ago, her application status has not changed from pending.
In the meantime, she has been applying for extension of stay with the Bahamas Government, and her last will expire next month.
“I did an extension the other day, that one is going to be expired on the 9th of June. So I have to now reach back out to them to get another extension. I asked them what can do to get home, they say I have to contact my government in my country,” she said.
*Identity withheld upon request.