Sun | Oct 1, 2023

‘I wouldn’t even feed my dog with it’ - Quarantined returnees condemn food quality, disregard

Published:Friday | May 15, 2020 | 12:31 AMDanae Hyman/Gleaner Writer
Quarantined guests have complained of poor-quality food preparation and a disregard for dietary restrictions.
Quarantined guests have complained of poor-quality food preparation and a disregard for dietary restrictions.

Although elated on Wednesday about returning home after being stranded overseas because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, quarantined Jamaicans have been crying out for hunger as they lambasted conditions at a St Ann hotel.

Persons among the first batch of Jamaicans who arrived from the United Kingdom last week also shared that they, too, had disappointing experiences with food quality and service.

More than 200 nationals returned on flights on Wednesday from Fort Lauderdale, New York, and Canada under the Government’s controlled re-entry programme amid restrictions on incoming passenger traffic.

Through tears, one woman who arrived on the Fort Lauderdale flight, which landed at approximately 10 a.m., said that she departed the airport at midday and was given a meal but received no more for the rest of the day.

However, she said that although she was given breakfast on Thursday morning, the food was described as unpalatable.

“They served corned beef and yam, and there is a person here that is allergic to corned beef, and they say, well, that’s what they have,” the guest, who has requested anonymity because of fear of mistreatment, told The Gleaner yesterday.

“I understand we are in quarantine and we can’t get a lot. That is not the problem,” the woman said.

One of the passengers who arrived on the flight from New York argued that besides the unsatisfactory food, no one received a drink with their meal.

According to him, a member of staff disclosed that water was not delivered to the establishment and was scheduled to arrive by late evening.

“They don’t come with any drinks or fork with our food. They place the food outside our door and it is cold,” the guest, who also requested privacy, said.

“We were told that for the entire 14 days that we are here, we will not be receiving any hot beverages, no tea, no coffee, nothing,” he said.


Another passenger who arrived on the Florida flight said that while she appreciated the accommodations, the food served was subpar.

“We understand the situation we were coming to, but we came here yesterday and haven’t had a decent meal in 24 hours. And now what they give us, I wouldn’t even feed my dog with it.

“You have people here who have to take medication. They have to do better than this,” the guest said.

When arriving Jamaicans from the UK complained last week about the provision of food on the flight and upon arrival, Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith said that the passengers ought to realise that “they are not luxury flights”.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said on Monday that the failure to provide food was not deliberate and that arrangements were being reviewed.