Avant Garde Martime Services has sent the following response to the Daily Mirror article titled “Covid-19 Repatriation Mafia” published on February 4, 2020.
Below serves as our response to an article by a Catholic Priest named Tyrrell J. Alles to the Daily Mirror newspaper published on Feb.4, 2021, headlined, ‘THE COVID-19 REPATRIATION MAFIA’, which contained false information about Avant garde Security Services Pvt.
Last October (2020), the US Embassy in collaboration with a US Travel Agency launched a programme to repatriate Sri Lankans living in the US and Avant garde was tasked with quarantining the group. About 80 of the passengers on board the plane had previously agreed to go to government-run quarantine centres, while others had requested in writing to the US embassy for paid facilities (hotels).
Avant garde used Shangri-La Hotel, the only 7-star hotel in the country, as the quarantine centre for the aforementioned visitors, for $1068 (Rs.195,000) for a single room and $825 for a double room (Rs.150,000), which included transportation from the airport to the hotel, two PCR tests and 14 days of star-rated meals.
Twenty five of those who had come to Sri Lanka from the United States after consenting to pay for quarantine began a protest at the airport premises refusing to pay. The army reluctantly refused to take them to quarantine centers by force as the protestors didn’t seem to prefer the government given facilities. It should be noted in particular that the quarantine was carried out at the full expense of the Avant garde Company.
In addition, Avant garde has taken steps to repatriate Sri Lankans from Malaysia, Dubai, Italy, Germany and Australia through embassies. On the recommendation of the Embassies of the respective countries, Avant garde has offered free air tickets and quarantined selected persons completely free of charge. Out of these, 100 Sri Lankans brought from Dubai at full cost by Avant garde were sent to the Catamaran Hotel in Negombo for two (2) PCR tests and quarantined by Avant garde for 14 days.
In spite of all this, Tyrrell J., who be littled the quarantine process in Sri Lanka, said there were dead worms in the food at the Shangri-La Hotel, and then at the Club Koggala Village Hotel. Alles, a Catholic priest, unknowingly and maliciously accused Avant garde publishing an article in the newspaper without our consultation. It is a violation of even the least accepted media ethics in this country.