Although it’s only a day until Government grants amnesty to Venezuelans in T&T who have fled their country’s economic woes, South Western Division police say there has been no increase in illegal immigrants entering the country.
This is because a special focus has been placed on the beaches and illegal ports along the Columbus Channel where hundreds of Venezuelans have been able to get pass law enforcement agencies.
On Tuesday, Venezuelan migrants: three woman and two men, were found hiding out at Beach Road, Palo Seco. They were taken into custody and handed over to the Immigration Division.
Two senior officers told Guardian Media that since 93 Venezuelans were held in a camp in the hills of Palo Seco and 17 in a dilapidated hotel in Chatham, there has not been any significant find.
“We have had no large volume of immigrants since the discovery of those persons in Palo Seco.
We have not picked up any immigrants in that magnitude. In the past, we know that immigrants have come through Morne Diablo (Penal) so what the patrols do when they go out, they check the coastline,” an officer said.
Another senior officer described the illegal migration of Venezuelans as a perennial problem for T&T that has been made worse by the problems across in the South American country.
He said that it was even responsible for the heavy “Spanish influence” in places like Moruga.
In 2015 Venezuela’s socio-economic problems turned into a crisis as low oil prices severely affected the country’s revenue.
It impacted the country’s ability to pay salaries, import food and raw materials for the manufacturing sector.
It led to hyperinflation, crime and an attempted coup. It is the reason why thousands of Venezuelans began leaving the country in search of refuge.
In 2017, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimated that there were 40,000 Venezuelans in T&T.
Minister of National Security Stuart Young said in March that there was no way to determine the amount of Venezuelans in the country whether legally or illegally.
He said the registration of Venezuelans which is to begin on Friday will help the government to ascertain those figures.
Reporter: Kevon Felmine