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‘I want to come home’

Homesick and lonely, Anton Bonaby, 25, has been stuck aboard a cruise ship he works on for nearly two months.

He said that while he and his fellow crew members are treated well, he misses his wife, his young daughter and other loved ones.

“I want to come home really bad. It’s not to say that I’m not being mistreated on the ship or anything,” he said.

“[B]ut home is home. I want to be home and around my loved ones.”

He added, “Most of the time I just stay in my room.

“[I] just try to pass the time, just sleep and hope that tomorrow comes a little quicker.”

The Minnis administration’s decision to shut down the country’s borders nearly two months ago has had a wide-reaching impact, leaving hundreds of Bahamians stranded outside of the country. While many are stuck on land, there are also those stuck at sea, aboard passenger-less cruise ships that are unable to dock.

Bonaby said his wife was also a crew member on the ship, but she returned to their native Grand Bahama just before the country was placed on lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The newlywed said the last time they were together was two weeks after they got married.

Since then, they have had to video chat every day to stay in contact.

Bonaby said it has been hard being away from his family, and it’s even more difficult dealing with the isolation because of the social distancing protocols that are being enforced on the ship that is docked in Bahamian waters.

“It gets depressing because we’re in Bahamian waters, and so close to home, but you can’t get home,” he said.

He added, “It ain’t no good feeling. I think about it a lot of the time.”

Bonaby’s comments came as the government began it’s phased approach of allowing Bahamians stuck abroad to return to The Bahamas.

The young father said he hopes he can get off of the ship soon and get on one of those flights.

His mother, Sharon McPhee, said his relatives in The Bahamas are trying to do all they can to make that happen.

“It’s very frustrating,” she said.

“And I try to keep him calm, and when I get frustrated, he’s trying to keep me calm.”

In the meantime, McPhee said she tries to keep her son upbeat.

“I try to talk to him every day,” she said.

“And I told him, ‘Just hold on. Mummy is praying for you.’

“I’m praying for all of them. I just want my baby to come home.”

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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