Hundreds of Venezuelan migrants sleep in Scarborough

Approximately 300 Venezuelan asylum seekers, most of whom travelled from Trinidad, spent the night on the streets of Scarborough Monday awaiting Tuesday's 7 am opening of the Tobago amnesty registration centre at Caroline Building, Wilson Road.

According to Emily Lyon, a Venezuelan who travelled to Tobago to register, a list with names of persons outside the centre was organised by a group leader to determine each person's position in the registration line.

"Some people have been here since Sunday, but the persons organising the list are making sure that people with babies and young children are given priority and we all agree with that," she told Guardian Media.

She said some who arrived via by boat and plane from Trinidad on Sunday, have not completed their registration because "they did not have all the papers and some papers were not correct."

She said more persons left Trinidad and headed to Tobago since then, "because the lines are extremely long in Trinidad and people are fearful they will not get to register".

"The process here is slower but the line is shorter," she opined.

Meanwhile, Diamond Andrews, of the Adventist Service and Industries Tobago Chapter, turned up at the centre with a group of church volunteers to feed the Venezuelans.

"We are here to help. We gave them dinner last night. They asked for garbage bags and when we arrived to share breakfast this morning, the area was clean," Andrews said.

Andrews hopes the church's gesture will motivate other groups and organisations to help.

"We feel other groups and organisations will show up, but if they don't we are prepared to do our part," he said.

 - Camille Mceachnie

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