Soldiers from the T&T Defence Force kept watch at the San Fernando port on Thursday as the Ministry of National Security tightened surveillance around T&T’s maritime borders.
The presence of the officers was welcomed by the residents of King’s Wharf who said boatloads of Venezuelans have been entering the country secretly over the past few months. A national security source, who requested anonymity, said the soldiers were part of a special operation.
David Richards who lives on the Wharf said he was happy that the military was now keeping watch at the port.
“Too many things are going on here. A few days ago those Spanish came in here and they climbed up on top of a van cheering.
They feel they could come here just so,” Richards said before walking away.
Another man, who requested anonymity, said three weeks ago, a boat carrying 20 Venezuelans docked at the Wharf.
“People were waiting on them. They just clear off and run. The Spanish have contacts here and when they come in, they know exactly where they going,” he added.
They also said that a van-load of copper was brought into the port from Venezuela on Wednesday.
“People bring in all kinds of cargo, even honey is being brought in. The Customs don’t like certain people seeing what going on here. We glad the military is here maintaining a presence,” he added.
Meanwhile, activities at the Cedros Port remained at a standstill as the T&T Coast Guard continued a rigid search of all vessels entering and exiting T&T’s territorial waters.
A source at Immigration said instructions were given for the ferries to be allowed into Cedros from Monday. The border patrols around the coasts have been stepped up but the source said more surveillance must be kept on the forested points along the southern coasts where Venezuelans are still being allowed to enter the country.
Shiploads of animals are still entering certain areas. A source at Icacos said while the people are being sent back, the cargoes of goods and scrap metal are still being allowed in.
Minister of National Security Stuart Young said border patrols have been stepped up and all vessels entering T&T’s waters are being searched.
Reporter: Rhadica De Silva