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Aprylle Cartwright-Miller, 33, stood outside Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) yesterday morning with a yellow cardboard sign in her hands.

It read, “Welcome home Velena and Velenzo.”

A flight carrying her two kids — Velena, nine, and Velenzo Jr.,  six — had just returned from the Berry Islands.

She hadn’t seen her children since late-March when Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis closed The Bahamas’ borders to international and domestic travel in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19. Last week, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) announced that, as of yesterday, passengers will be permitted to travel domestically among all islands in The Bahamas.

“I was up for 4:30 this morning,” Cartwright-Miller told The Nassau Guardian.

“I could not sleep. I was like, ‘Listen, work, I’m going to be late.’

“I sent them in a WhatsApp voice note, ‘I’m going to be in after I get my kids today.’”

She said the last few weeks have been “rough” without them.

“But, they were in good hands,” Cartwright-Miller said with tear-filled eyes.

“They were with their grandparents and so, they had a good time, of course.” 

She said her family has a busy, fun-filled week ahead of them.

“My daughter, her birthday was on the third [of June],” Cartwright-Miller said.

“She wasn’t able to celebrate. Mine was on the 27th of April. And so, we’ve had a lot of birthdays that were via [the] internet and so, we’re definitely going to have a big 10-person, at least, party in the coming days.” 

About three minutes later, a glass door, leading to LPIA’s domestic terminal, slid open.

Cartwright-Miller’s young kids stumbled out and fell into their mother’s arms.

All three cried as they held each other.

Velenzo Miller Sr., 38, Cartwright-Miller’s husband, soon joined in.

He was also overwhelmed with emotion. 

“My daughter, she came out crying and that broke me down a bit because for the last two weeks she was like, ‘I ready to come home, daddy. I ready to come home,’” he said.

“So, now, holding her, it was just a blessing just seeing them here.”

Miller said this has been “an excellent” start to his week. 

The younger Velenzo chimed in.

“I’m happy being back in Nassau,” he said.

“I missed everybody all day.” 

His sister said she was looking forward to making up for her missed birthday with “lots of presents”.

Velena said “it feels great” being back with her parents.

Minnis announced a travel card system last month. 

He announced that individuals will be required to submit to an evaluation by a ministry-authorized physician.

The Ministry of Health later issued a list of approved physicians for the inter-island health travel process.

More than 1,000 people had made queries about the government’s COVID-19 travel card program, but it was unclear how many travel cards were approved.

On June 1, OPM announced that the card would no longer be necessary.

Passengers traveling from islands with confirmed COVID-19 cases will instead be required to fill out a travel form and health form when they check in for travel.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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