A mother’s concern over enforced separation
Sophia Cannonier is used to not seeing her two eldest children while they are away at boarding school — but now she has no idea when she will next be reunited with them.
Ravi and Vidya Cannonier-Watson, who are both studying dance in Britain, were unable to get on the last British Airways flight from London Gatwick to Bermuda, before the island effectively shut its borders because of the coronavirus pandemic.
They then tried to come home via Canada, but were told at the airport that it wasn’t possible, as the connecting flight to Bermuda had been cancelled.
Ms Cannonier, a Pilates and aerial arts teacher, told The Royal Gazette: “They missed the last BA flight. They couldn’t get a reasonable ticket. It was like business class, $4,000 each, and knowing what was coming, we didn’t think that was fiscally possible to do that.”
Ravi, 15, is studying at the Royal Ballet School in London — the first Bermudian to attend the prestigious classical ballet school. Vidya, 12, is a pupil at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire, England.
Their father, Michael Watson, a myofascial manipulation specialist who travels the globe for work, arrived in London from a trip abroad just as the youngsters’ schools were closing because of Covid-19.
The three were able to meet up and are now staying with Mr Watson’s mother in Kent until they are able to travel home to Bermuda.
“They are together at least,” said Ms Cannonier, who is isolating at home with the couple’s youngest child, Inanna, 9.
“I do thank goodness that we have WhatsApp and I know he is taking care of them.
“We are just hanging on and waiting for everything to cool. Luckily, we are used to the travel and separation, being that they are in boarding school.
“As long as they are safe, that’s all that matters.”
Ms Cannonier spent the weekend talking to government officials, including the Minister of National Security, to try to secure a way home for her family. She said she was very grateful for their help.
So far no one has been able to find a way to bring them home, but she said she had since been told about a possible BA flight next week.
“No promises, but it’s good news, nevertheless.”
She added: “There are a lot of people over there that would like to come back.”
Ms Cannonier said Ravi and Vidya were taking the situation in their stride and enjoying online classes and outside time at their grandmother’s home.
“They are active, not just sitting around wishing they were here,” she said.
She added that she was staying calm and focused on doing virtual classes for her students, and caring for Inanna, who is home-schooled.
“I have got tons of things to do here. I have got online classes and am managing the whole house myself. The first class on Zoom was quite emotional, to see their names pop up and their faces in their own homes.
“The comments that I got were that ‘this is so important to move and stay connected to my tribe, the people that I like to connect with’.”
On Wednesday, Ms Cannonier’s stepfather, Walter Bean, a Bermudian, died in Durham, England, with her mother at his side.
Ms Cannonier said: “My brother is standing by my mum. I hope this situation clears soon so that we can be reunited.”
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