Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Sergeant Ricardo Major never imagined he wouldn’t be able to return to The Bahamas anytime soon when he left in early March.
The government on Friday decided to close the borders for all incoming people, including Bahamian citizens and residents, in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“I came to attend a leaders conference early March, and went to assist a family member in Seattle,” Major, 48, told The Nassau Guardian.
“When I got back to Fort Lauderdale, my flight had been canceled and I was not aware of the border closure until on the 27th, when I went to get a flight home and found that all flights had [been] canceled.”
On Friday night, Major posted a photo on social media wearing a face mask, as he expressed shock and dismay that he was no longer able to return home.
When he spoke with The Guardian, he said he had gotten some things sorted out, but was still largely uncertain about what would come next.
“I am okay for now, just bored at the hotel,” Major said.
“I am alone here. I made contact with The Bahamas consulate and spoke with [a representative] and was assisted with a room for the week at a hotel in Fort Lauderdale.”
Asked what will happen once that week has passed, Major said: “Therein lies the problem.
“So, I was advised by the Bahamian consulate I will be updated after the House of Assembly meets tomorrow, Monday.”
But Major added that all he really wants is to be home, even if it is to be in quarantine for a time.
He thinks the government should make arrangements for Bahamians trapped abroad who want to return.
“I am a police sergeant on the Royal Bahamas Police Force and wish to just get home,” Major said.
“I have no problem if I am swept away to be quarantined for a month or longer, but while in my home country.”
He added, “I would like the government of The Bahamas to open the borders and allow Bahamians who are stranded here in the U.S. to return home.
“Upon arrival, have us all quarantined from arrival until a clean bill of health is ascertained.”
On Sunday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield said the government does not plan to send emergency flights to pick up Bahamians stranded abroad.
However, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis objected to the decision to close Bahamian borders to Bahamians.
Major, meanwhile, described the situation as “mind-boggling”, but stressed that he and his family are just “holding faith that all goes well”.
In the House of Assembly yesterday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis defended the decision to close the borders to everyone, including Bahamians.
“It’s unfortunate that there are Bahamians who are presently outside [the country] and as the airports are closed, they cannot return. However, decisions are made in the best interest of the country,” Minnis said.