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Story Highlights

  • Present at the airport to greet the passengers was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, who told JIS News that the Government is pleased that the Jamaicans are now home.
  • Senator Johnson Smith, who greeted all the passengers immediately after they exited the aircraft, told JIS News that the feedback was positive.
  • “I’ve been stranded in England and I’m not a crew member. I’m actually a citizen of both the United Kingdom and also Jamaica. I commend the Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness,” he said.

One hundred and twenty Jamaicans who were stranded in the United Kingdom (UK) are now back on local soil through the assistance of the Government.

A TUI chartered Boeing 787 aircraft with the passengers aboard landed at 5:39 p.m. on Wednesday (May 6) at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.

A total of 124 persons were approved for the flight based on applications through the immigration section of the https://jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm/ website.

The flight consisted primarily of crew members, who were on the Marella Discovery 2 cruise ship as well as six other vessels owned by that cruise line.

Present at the airport to greet the passengers was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, who told JIS News that the Government is pleased that the Jamaicans are now home.

She said that the mission involved collaboration with the Ministries of Health & Wellness, National Security and Transport and Mining; Jamaica Defence Force (JDF); Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA); Airports Authority of Jamaica, and Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC).

“It’s been a real uphill road trying to coordinate with all of the agencies…to ensure that we work with not only TUI to get home the 84 crew members across six ships, but also 40 Jamaicans, who were stranded overseas,” Senator Johnson Smith said.

She told JIS News that all the safety measures were observed in bringing the Jamaicans home.

“All of the procedures were followed [these include] masks, gloves, etc. On hand, they had temperature and health checks. There was also health screening as part of the Jamcovid process, so they had to answer health questions before they were approved,” she noted.

Senator Johnson Smith, who greeted all the passengers immediately after they exited the aircraft, told JIS News that the feedback was positive.

“They’re happy to be home. They’re just happy. There are a couple families on board – three young children, one newborn baby; some elderly persons and students, who were in challenging circumstances and were assisted back,” she noted.

One gentleman, who had returned with his mother and son on the flight, told JIS News that he is elated to be back in the island.

“I’ve been stranded in England and I’m not a crew member. I’m actually a citizen of both the United Kingdom and also Jamaica. I commend the Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness,” he said.

He said he is also pleased with the Government’s handling of the virus, which has kept deaths in the single digits to date.

The 120 Jamaicans were previously unable to return to the island, given that borders were closed to incoming flights as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

They were repatriated under the controlled re-entry protocols and will be in State quarantine for 14 days.

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