A Dunkeld couple have been left scrambling to get home from the Caribbean after receiving devastating family news.
Kirsty Fisher, 25, and her partner Calum have been working in Antigua since before Christmas and were due to return to Scotland in May.
But on the night Calum heard the news that his father has been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, the Antiguan border force imposed a total lockdown.
The family have been told the cancer is unreatable and now the couple are pleading with the Foreign Office and airlines to get them home as soon as possible.
“The night of that news, Antigua went into a 24-hour lockdown for a week, shutting the airport and all other travel,” said Kirsty.
“Leaving your house is forbidden and you can only go out between 9am and 12pm to get essential food.
“That lockdown got extended for another week, taking it to April 15. Since getting that news, we have been looking at ways to try to get home but all of the flights have been cancelled and we are forbidden to move so options like flying to the next islands, where there are still scheduled flights to Europe, are not possible.”
She said the couple had been emailing and phoning everyone they can think of to try to find out if there will be repatriation flights.
“We have contacted the embassy here, the Foreign Office in London, the airport in Antigua, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic,” she said.
“None of these have provided us with any hopeful information. I think the FO are our best hope but they keep just sending generic emails, telling us to follow the Eastern Caribbean travel updates, which of course we have been doing right from the start.
“Our situation is very time precious as we want to get back as soon as possible to spend time with Calum’s father. We feel like we have exhausted all our options and cannot find a way to get home.
“I think a week ago, we really thought we would be home by now.”
The Foreign Office has budgeted £75m to help stranded Brits get home safely, but this money is not being spent quickly enough according to Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart
He said: “My office have contacted consular services and have written to the Foreign Office notifying them of cases where constituents face desperate situations and while I understand that they may be overwhelmed by the scale of the challenge facing them and no doubt the weight of correspondence they are receiving what is much more worrying is the lack of evidence that repatriation flights are being put in place with any urgency.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We know it’s a difficult time for many British travellers abroad — especially those facing challenging circumstances.
“Our consular teams are doing everything they can, especially for those in difficulty, to keep Brits informed on the latest developments and help them return — on commercial flights where they are still available or special charter flights as well. We’ll continue working around the clock to bring people home.”
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