Tearful students desperate for escape from UK
The Premier's effort to bring home Bermudians stranded in Britain was defended yesterday by a student eager to book a place on board a charter flight home expected to take off on Monday.
Ashley Fubler, 23, said last night anyone worried about David Burt's plan to bring more Bermudians stuck overseas back home should “put themselves in my shoes”.
She added: “All I want to do is get home to my island during this global pandemic. At the end of the day, we are citizens, just like everyone else, and we have every right to be back home with loved ones.”
Ms Fubler said being trapped overseas with her future on hold had taken a toll on her mental health.
She added: “What makes this worse is the fact that the UK has such an alarming number of cases and the way the situation is being handled by the British Government.
“I have been quarantined in my apartment for the past three weeks and have only left on two occasions to go to the grocery store.
“I say that to say I am a responsible adult — I understand the seriousness of Covid-19 and I will not jeopardise the safety of my community for my own selfish gain as some persons returning to the island have by not abiding by the rules put in place.”
Ms Fubler spent five years training to be a lawyer in Britain, and was on track to be Called to the Bar of England and Wales in July.
She said she had planned to return home afterwards and start her career, but classes and exams were cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Mr Burt said on Monday all Bermuda residents who returned home would undergo a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.
At a press conference yesterday, he said students had been calling the Bermuda Government's London office “in tears” trying to get home.
The Premier added that students and vulnerable people would get priority on flights. As well as the UK flight, a local travel agency helped organise a Delta flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Kimika Jackson, 22, from Sandys, said her family on the island were “alarmed” at the uncertainty over her return from the UK.
Ms Jackson, enrolled in a one-year master's course at the University of Manchester, said she hoped to head to London on Saturday to secure her seat on the homeward bound flight.
Her university, which at first threatened to penalise students who left early, decided to close the day before the shutdown of Bermuda's airport and the suspension of British Airways flights.
She said she felt “caught in a whirlwind” by the decisions of the Bermuda and British governments as well as her school. Ms Jackson added: “They didn't all align at the same time which put me in a tough position.”
She said having her own apartment made it tougher to leave than if she had been university halls of residence.
She explained she faced further costs for accommodation beyond her lease termination date.
Ms Jackson said: “This process is quite challenging because I have to arrange a place to stay near the airport — because I can't rely on the regular service of UK public transport.”
Latroya Darrell, from Smith's, said she was still in student accommodation in Edinburgh, Scotland, although her university has closed.
Ms Darrell said: “Food items at times are scarce. A lot of people are wearing masks and gloves outside of their homes.
“Currently, Scotland is on lockdown.”
She added: “I am grateful to the Bermuda Government for providing this charter flight.
“This is a time of uncertainty as all of my programmes here have been suspended and I need to get home.”