Published On: Tue, Oct 21st, 2014

Caribbean travel bans unfair, says Sierra Leone national

Ebola virusBASSETERRE, St Kitts - A national of Sierra Leone residing in Britain has criticized the travel ban imposed by St Kitts and Nevis and a number of other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states.

Communications consultant Desmond Gordon told WINN FM that the ban is unfair because there are steps being put in place in his country, as well as in Liberia and Guinea, and at a global level, to prevent the spread of the disease.

Gordon returned to the UK six weeks ago from a visit to Sierra Leone.

"Well frankly I think it's (the ban) a bit unfair, because I think there are steps being put in place to curb the possibility of viruses and diseases across different countries and continents," he said, while explaining that he had to undergo stringent processing during his recent trip.

"I had to do temperature checks; I had to fill out a health form and all those things to prevent me from spreading the disease, if I did have it, across borders. So I think it is unfair for other countries to jump on a bandwagon or to take extreme perspectives without actually looking at what the real issues are," he told WINN FM.

Bentley Warrington, a West Indian who is a school principal in New York, is more sympathetic to the travel restrictions and describes the ban as non-discriminatory.

"I believe it's absolutely precautionary because you know we have small populations and we do not have the industrial means to handle situations like this. You have to protect your population and I think if that's what's necessary that's what has to be done," Warrington told WINN FM's The Bigger Picture.

The travel ban also has the support of Trinidadian medical doctor and parliamentarian Dr Emery Browne, and St Lucian pathologist Dr Stephen King.

Both their countries have imposed anti-Ebola travel bans.

However, the ban has been heavily criticized by Barbados-based Caribbean journalist Julius Gittens, who suggested that it could "feed the hysteria" of those fearful of the Ebola Virus Disease.

St Lucia Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony has defended the travel ban.

"We are a very poor country we are a very small country, and we do not have the capacity of larger states to manage any crisis that lands on our doorstep any crisis of that kind in our country," Anthony pointed out.

He said it was "vitally necessary that we take early precautions".

By Ken Richards - Caribbean News Now

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