Amidst light rainfall and the blowing of horns of vehicles from several locals, a party of nineteen Grenadian workers who were left stranded on a cruise ship in Miami for over two months have finally arrived home to a warm welcome.
The Caribbean Princess dropped anchor in the outer harbour in St. George’s at approximately 1.25 p.m. (local time) to disembark the crew members as part of a deal worked out between the Cruise Line and the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government.
An eyewitness reported seeing an officer of the ship engaged in a brief conversation with Gary Knight, an employee of the ship’s local agent, Geo. F. Huggins & Co, as well as former Prison Commissioner Don Mc Kenzie, the officer in charge of the Cruise Ship Terminal, and an employee of the Ministry of Health.
The crew members were taken ashore by a small tender of the cruise ship which was cleared for entry into Grenada by a senior member of the Customs Department.
Several health officials who assembled at the Cruise Ship terminal on Melville Street took custody of the nineteen crew members to bring them to a secret location to be quarantined for the next 14 days before they can integrate with family members.
“This is fantastic news, they have been waiting for the longest while to come home,” said one elated local.
“I am hearing vehicles tooting horns for the workers on the ship from as far as Fontenoy,” remarked another Grenadian.
One of the major concerns among some Grenadians is the commitment of government to institute firm quarantine protocols for the arriving crew members against the deadly coronavirus.
“At last (the workers are home). Glad for them. Hope there’s proper quarantine arrangements,” was the comment of a small business operator.
A Grenadian living in the diaspora offered the following remarks: “…You just don’t know as lots of people were taken off cruise ships with positive (COVID-19) results and some even died. We still don’t know enough about incubation (for the virus) not to test”.
A big white bus was seen on the compound waiting to take away some of the arriving crew members of the cruise ship.
A government spokesman told THE NEW TODAY that systems have been put in place to ensure that all nineteen persons are properly quarantined.
He said: “They are all being taken in compulsory quarantine and tested. They will remain there for 14 days. Government has negotiated for the Cruise Company to pay for the quarantine of each worker”.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the 19 crew members were taken to the campus of St. George University (SGU) on the Grand Anse beach to be quarantined.
Just over a month ago, a visiting Grenadian from the United Kingdom who tested positive for COVID-19 slipped out of the country without the knowledge of the authorities and made his way back to his place of residence.
The Caribbean Princess spent just about an hour in the outer harbor before sailing out of Grenada.
THE NEW TODAY understands that there are just over 100 Grenadian workers on two cruise ships in the Miami port waiting on help from the Mitchell-led government to bring them back home.
One of the stranded crew members who was contacted today said that there are 57 stranded Grenadians on her ship and another 50 plus on another cruise ship that is docked not too far from the boat that she is on.
She said that all the workers want to come home but have not received “any information regarding (whether) you guys going to go home this date or that date … just nothing…so I don’t know”.
When contacted on the issue, a senior member of the National COVID-19 Response team said: “Tell her that just like the other cruise lines, her management must engage the Ministry of Tourism”.
The female cruise ship worker indicated that they have been in touch with Tourism Minister Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen but no positive information has been relayed by her to them in recent times.
Grenada has recorded 21 positive COVID-19 cases and Prime Minister Mitchell is due to address the nation tomorrow night at 8.00 p.m.