(WSVN) - Teenage twins stuck in Fort Lauderdale, and they can’t return to their family in the Bahamas. Why, and what can be done? It’s the first Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser of 2021, and it has a successful ending to begin this new year.

It’s quiet, it’s beautiful, it’s isolated, and it’s not far from South Florida.

Edwin Mulford, Pigeoncaybahamas.com: “Very small. We only have eight cottages, but it’s on a wonderful piece of very private beachfront on Cat Island in the Bahamas.”

Edwin and Leslie have owned Pigeon Cay Beach Club in the Bahamas for 27 years, running a small resort while raising their twin boys.

Edwin Mulford: “Our boys grew up here, and now they’re old enough to help us, and that’s been a great thing for us.”

The boys, Griffinn and Elliott Mulford, are U.S. citizens like their parents, and growing up in a beach town has created a life much different than most kids.

Griffinn Mulford: “Everybody knows each other, yeah, very friendly. Everybody treats you like family over there.”

Then last July, as the 18-year-olds’ passports were about to expire, the U.S. Embassy in Nassau closed, so they had to fly to Fort Lauderdale to get them renewed.

Edwin Mulford: “We tried to get an expedited application, but they wouldn’t do that.”

After the passports expired, the boys were trapped in Fort Lauderdale and couldn’t get back into the Bahamas to be with their parents.

Griffinn Mulford: “Yes, we do miss our family a lot. It’s been tough.”

Edwin and Leslie had to rent a place for the boys to stay. At the same time, COVID stopped people from entering the Bahamas.

Edwin Mulford: “Our bank account now is zero, so we’re having to dip into our retirement account.”

But the business struggles don’t compare to the pain of not being together.

Leslie Mulford: “I could cry.”

They can’t hug their kids, and they have no idea if or when the U.S. government will issue their passports so they can return home.

Edwin Mulford: “We need somebody’s help that can penetrate the system.”

Elliott Mulford: “It’s the same response. Every time they say, ‘It’s in progress, it’s in progress,’ and nothing’s changing.”

Edwin Mulford: “We need them home, Patrick.”

I contacted the State Department and then spoke to staff members at U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott’s officers. They all responded to me, and we caught a break.

Griffinn Mulford: “Then it came the next day, the two passports came the next day.”

The boys got the passports they had waited months to receive.

Griffinn Mulford: “I wasn’t expecting that.”

Elliott Mulford: “We should have called you earlier, a little while back.”

Now they’re back together in the Bahamas, back with their parents.

Leslie Mulford: “It was great. It was awesome, the whole thing, and then having them back with us was really great.”

Edwin and Leslie are happy. Their family is together, hoping 2021 returns their lives and resort back to normal.

Edwin Mulford: “We’re COVID-free here, so it’s a very safe environment, and our place is very off the beaten path and very private, with just a gorgeous beach.”

A nice, quiet vacation on a private beach. Not bad, and it’s nice that we were able to get a family back together to start 2021 as well.

Now, the key to getting results with the federal government: contact your congressional representative or Sens. Scott or Rubio’s offices. They have pull, and they were a big help for us.

A problem left you feeling like you’re alone on an island? Wanna beach the headache? Resort to the best result: contact us for a sunny solution.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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