“YOU can check out any time you like, but you can never leave,”sang The Eagles in their 1976 hit ‘Hotel California’. It seems this is now true for many ex- pats who were lucky enough to catch the repatriation flight from the UK on Tuesday. These Brits have swallowed a bitter pill in believing they were returning back to their homes, friends and families after a long three and a half month wait.
Unfortunately, the bitter pill is now lodged firmly in their throats! According to reports, they are far from happy with their hotel in the centre of Kyrenia. Both Riverside and Malpas were on the list of expected quarantine hotels, but after arriving late Tuesday night they were turned away due to no rooms being available in eitherl. I am sure many just wanted to get to bed, enjoy a cup of tea and relax after such a long and stressful time. However, they were faced with a serious lack of basic amenities, food and care. So where did all it go wrong and who is to blame? Is the tour operator to blame or does the responsibility fall solely on the government here for not being prepared, despite having weeks to organise? They did such a terrific job handling the pandemic; but sadly, they have now let themselves down by allowing this to happen.
I cannot believe every hotel in the North is full. They managed to organise hotels for other quarantined guests, so why do they feel it is acceptable to treat so many loyal resident permit holders like this? I am sure they have their reasons and I hope they are able to explain themselves. However, I think it may be a little too late for some of the ex-pats who have endured this treatment.
As a business owner and a resident here for eight years, I am deeply saddened and upset at how these people are being treated in a country some have called home for many years. I am sure everyone on the outside will try their best to help make them feel as comfortable as possible. The local bowls club are appealing for packages to send to their members but I fear very little will actually reach them, if anything at all.
Strict measures are in place by the hotels. Some will only allow guests the food that is provided for them, which one woman said “was only acceptable for the bin.” Those TRNC citizens who flew in earlier had great success with their quarantine at the Merit Royal Hotel. What a joy! Imagine what fun you could have being stuck at such a luxurious hotel and at no cost? It would seem the Brits who reportedly paid more than £800 for a flight and fourteen night stay per person, are now literally trapped in paradise! They have no way out and nowhere to go.
We have family and friends stuck in the UK and we have advised them not to come back until we can guarantee their safety and care in these hotels. The North desperately needs every bit of good press and help they can get at the moment.
I fear this is going to do the complete opposite and discourage people from coming back at all, especially if this is the way they will be treated. I wish these fourteen days go very quickly for everyone in such horrible conditions. I also wish this does not cause any loathing and bitterness to a long awaited home-coming.