Antiguan student granted approval to leave T&T – but no money for flight

Sheniequa Lewis
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PORT-OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Less than three hours after her story was aired on CNC3 news, (on Wednesday), the Ministry of National Security granted approval to allow pregnant Antiguan student Sheniequa Lewis permission to return home.

Lewis had been begging the government since May to allow her repatriation before she delivers her baby in September.

But while approval was granted in T&T, Lewis said the Antiguan government was unable to organise a repatriation flight.

However, Lewis said the Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Antigua and Barbuda, Karen Cabrall, contacted her (on Wednesday) and said the government had no money to arrange a flight.

 “They said they were piggybacking on other Caribbean governments to assist them in getting nationals home. We are grateful to the T&T government for reaching out to us and responding so quickly after the story was aired but we are still at a loss as to how I will be reaching back home,” Lewis said.

She noted that LIAT was in turmoil with workers, so it was up to Caribbean Airlines to assist. She also said the Venezuelan government has been assisting the Antiguan students who were studying in Cuba to return home.

 “There are other Antiguan students studying all over the Caribbean, including Guyana, so we are hoping that some arrangement could be made to assist,” Lewis added.

Lewis, 21, came to Trinidad to pursue a course at the T&T Hospitality and Tourism Institute in September last year. She went back home in December and came back to T&T pregnant with her first child. In March, the course was cancelled because of low student turnout and Lewis made preparations to return home.

However, eight days before she could board her flight, the T&T borders were closed, leaving her stranded. Lewis suffers from scoliosis (a condition characterised by a sideways curvature of the spine) and she said she desperately needed to get home so she could get therapy and have her baby safely.

Anyone wanting to assist Lewis can contact her at +1 268 728-2196. (Story by Radhica De Silva, T&T Guardian)

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