Stuart: Venezuelans at IDC can access amnesty

Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young says Venezue­lans cur­rent­ly housed at the Im­mi­gra­tion De­ten­tion Cen­tre will be al­lowed to reg­is­ter for the Gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed one-year amnesty.

He made the com­ment as he gave an up­date on the amnesty which will tar­get Venezue­lans who are al­ready in T&T but are now il­le­gal­ly here dur­ing yes­ter­day’s post-Cab­i­net brief­ing at the Diplo­mat­ic Cen­tre, St Ann’s.

Young said a note on the is­sue has al­ready been draft­ed and he will take it to Cab­i­net next week.

The amnesty will al­low Venezue­lans liv­ing in T&T to reg­is­ter and work for one year in or­der to pre­vent em­ploy­ers from ex­ploit­ing and ill-treat­ing them.

On an­oth­er is­sue, Young ad­mit­ted that Trinida­di­ans who have been threat­en­ing Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers in the line of du­ty may be op­er­at­ing il­le­gal busi­ness­es.

Young again raised the is­sue of Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers be­ing threat­ened while car­ry­ing out their law­ful du­ties, re-em­pha­sis­ing that any­one found guilty of com­mit­ting such an of­fence will face crim­i­nal charges.

On Tues­day in the Sen­ate, Young spoke about the set­ting up of po­lice sting op­er­a­tions at ports of en­try to nab any­one —lo­cal or for­eign—who may seek to in­tim­i­date Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers.

The move came af­ter Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers re­port­ed ex­clu­sive­ly to the T&T Guardian that they had been threat­ened by ei­ther the rel­a­tives of, or per­sons as­so­ci­at­ed with a group of Venezue­lan na­tion­als who had been de­nied en­try in­to T&T at the Pi­ar­co In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port last week.

But Venezue­lan na­tion­al and ac­tivist Yese­nia Gon­za­les had coun­tered that her com­pa­tri­ots had claimed they have been pay­ing bribes to Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials to gain en­try in­to and stay in T&T. Young then called on Gon­za­les to take this in­for­ma­tion to the po­lice.

Young made it clear that al­though re­ports had sur­faced that Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers had been threat­ened by Venezue­lans, he had no such in­for­ma­tion. “There have been cer­tain Trinida­di­an in­di­vid­u­als who may have threat­ened Im­mi­gra­tions per­sons. Some of these Trinida­di­an in­di­vid­u­als are per­sons of in­ter­est.

They may not be con­duct­ing le­git­i­mate busi­ness­es.

Again, this has been brought to the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice’s at­ten­tion,” Young said.

He said if the po­lice catch “any­one en­gag­ing in this kind of ac­tiv­i­ty they will be ar­rest­ed and charged.”

Reporter: Shaliza Hassanali

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