Scores of Bahamians, who were stuck in Cuba, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Kingdom (UK) and other parts of Europe, returned to The Bahamas yesterday.
It was the first repatriation flight to occur from those countries since the prime minister reopened the border to citizens and permanent residents.
In late-March, the government ordered the closure of The Bahamas’ border in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Anthony Dias, 19, a student at Buckingshire University, was grateful for the opportunity to return home.
However, he noted some difficulties with the process once he arrived in Nassau yesterday.
“The healthcare workers and stuff took a little while,” Dias told The Nassau Guardian outside Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).
“They weren’t too prepared, but it went smooth after that. We have some apps on our phone to track us so we don’t leave our house and stuff.
“Other than that, it was a smooth process. I’m happy to be home.”
Elsa Carter, a mother of two, also experienced issues.
“Coming in, the health thing in the back, it was deplorable,” she said.
“It’s very unorganized and they want you to download stuff on your phone… I guess once they get up and running, they’ll be more organized. But, as it stands, in the back there is a total mess.”
Carter said the entire process took about an hour and 20 minutes.
“I’m just happy to be home,” she said.
Shaquan Newbold, 16, a resident of Grand Bahama, was also happy to be home.
She had been visiting Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, when the borders were closed.
“It was a family affair,” Newbold said.
“Four days turned into three months; almost four months.”
She had been trying to return to The Bahamas since March.
Newbold finally touched down on Bahamian soil yesterday afternoon and is expected to take another flight to Freeport, Grand Bahama, today.
“I think I was the first person to buy my ticket,” she said.
Newbold said she is excited to see her mother when she returns to Freeport.
Shirley Smith, 80, who was born in the Turks and Caicos Islands, had to cut her trip short.
She was visiting TCI for a missions trip.
“I was supposed to come back on the last day in June,” Smith said.
“So, I am back early. Had I know that it was going to be this complicated (coming back) I would’ve stayed there.”
When asked about her experiencing returning to The Bahamas, she replied, “They have to do what is right and what is best for the country. They are trying to help others from this thing spreading over.”
Smith added, “The thing is, our people are so unthankful and so ungrateful. The prime minister is trying to do his best and people are still complaining.
“If they would travel and see what’s happen in other countries, when they arise every morning, they would say, ‘Thank you, Lord, for being in a place like The Bahamas.’”