I purchased my air ticket at a higher price from a person as instructed by the embassy
Outside the airport, we were locked in a bus for more than an hour
Paid Avant Garde Rs.15,000 a day for a 14-day period of quarantine at Shangri-La Hotel
Covid-19 and quarantine in Sri Lanka is a racket, a dishonest scheme to obtain fast money
No sooner, I landed in Colombo, I experienced the inefficient and abusive treatment meted out to arriving passengers. After a long and tiresome journey, we waited at the airport for hours on end on our feet with limited toilet facilities. Outside the airport, we were locked in a bus for more an hour
Having experienced first-hand the loathsome treatment of repatriating Sri Lankans at paid Quarantine Centres, Fr. Tyrell J. Alles contracted Covid-19 in early January. Writing to the Daily Mirror, he says the Covid-19 pandemic is now a money-making racket, where a few gain from the misfortune of many.
I returned to Sri Lanka from the United States of America on October 1, 2020. The Sri Lankan embassy in Washington, DC included me in one of their repatriation flights, for which I am grateful. Avant Garde Security Service [PVT] Ltd., organized this repatriation. I purchased my air ticket at a higher price from a person as instructed by the embassy. In addition, I had to pay Avant Garde Rs.15,000 a day for a 14-day period of quarantine at Shangri-La Hotel in Hambantota.
No sooner, I landed in Colombo, I experienced the inefficient and abusive treatment meted out to arriving passengers. After a long and tiresome journey, we waited at the airport for hours on end on our feet with limited toilet facilities. Outside the airport, we were locked in a bus for more an hour. After a snail’s pace journey to Hambantota, the incompetent check-in system at the hotel lasted another couple of hours. All this time, locked in a bus, we did not have even a drop of water to quench our thirst. Some protested against such inhumane treatment after paying exorbitant rates for the air travel and the hotel. The 14-day quarantine process at the Shangri-La Hotel, only added fuel to fire.
After three negative PCR tests, I was treated like an alien, who had arrived from another planet with a virus. Although, I am not one to complain about food, I am forced to do so. For example, given the hotel charges, will one like to find dead worms in the food? How will one feel when one has to repeatedly call the reception to get the basics? How will one feel when one has to repeatedly remind the hotel about the change of linen? I was disgusted! Thereafter, I had to quarantine at home for another 14 days subject to control freaks; the PHI and the Police, with notices on my gate terrifying the neighborhood.
Early January, I tested positive for Covid-19. The Ministry of Health subjected me to mandatory 14-day quarantine. It is common knowledge that the government quarantine centres are hygienically appalling, with toilet facilities that are dreadful and the probability of catching another disease, worse than Covid-19 from such a quarantine centre was inevitable. I was offered to be quarantined at Club Koggala Village at an exorbitant rate of Rs.12,000 a day. Once again, the services, the food, and even the room were below standard. During the 14 days, I did not even have a plate or cutlery, not to mention the insipid unhygienic food either to be eaten or thrown at your discretion.
Being a diabetic, the medical team told me to request diabetic food. My request fell on deaf ears, giving me the impression, “either you eat or die.”At both Hambantota and Koggala, the Sri Lankan Army provided transport to the hotels at a price. But I had to find transport at the end of the 14 days, as if to say, now that we have got our money, find your way back home. Adding insult to injury, there were parasites who offer transportation at ridiculous rates, making hay while the sun shines.
Drawing from my personal experience, Covid-19 and quarantine in Sri Lanka is a racket, a dishonest scheme to obtain fast money. We were victims of an organized mafia. It is evident that Avant Garde and their colleagues made their repatriation plan a money-spinner. It is also evident that hoteliers and their collaborators have invented a new form of money-grabbing. This skullduggery mutates faster than the virus. Who can rescue us from this vicious circle in this paradise island which to me is far from paradise, in fact hell on earth?
As regards the government, all we hear is its obscene arguments in parliament, a comedy show, the only entertainment that is free-of-charge. Acting like hooligans, at each other’s throats, these unschooled idiots are hand-in-glove with those who line their pockets in the name of Covid-19. My logical conclusion is that while many have lost their businesses and their livelihood, because of this pandemic, some others have made it a lucrative business, a mafia, a pathetic, horrendous and disgusting experience to so many others like me. This is Covid-19 and quarantine in Sri Lanka.
Since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, the whole world is going through a crisis that has affected every aspect of human life. The governments of different countries respond in various ways to curtail this pandemic and to provide medical assistance to its citizens. This letter relates my experience of how Sri Lanka has responded to this crisis, especially through its quarantine programmes.
Every baptized Christian shares in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, in his prophetic, and royal mission. As a Catholic priest, in addition to this threefold function, I share in the ministerial priesthood of Christ. I write this letter in response to the prophetic mission entrusted to me by my baptism and my priesthood for the service and common good of mankind.