Young: Registration process not a doorway to citizenship

No T&T per­ma­nent res­i­den­cy or cit­i­zen­ship for Venezue­lan reg­is­tra­tion ap­pli­cants, says Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young.

He was re­spond­ing to re­marks by the Venezue­lan Am­bas­sador Car­los Perez that reg­is­trants may have a chance for per­ma­nent res­i­dence or cit­i­zen­ship with the cur­rent reg­is­tra­tion dri­ve.

Young al­so re­spond­ed sim­i­lar­ly when queried on the mat­ter by the Op­po­si­tion in Par­lia­ment on Mon­day.

Queries arose af­ter News­day on Mon­day re­port­ed that Venezue­lan Am­bas­sador to T&T Car­los Perez said (on I95.5 FM ra­dio) that Venezue­lans who are legal­ly reg­is­tered through Gov­ern­ment’s cur­rent reg­is­tra­tion process, “will have an­oth­er op­por­tu­ni­ty to ap­ply for res­i­den­cy or cit­i­zen­ship in T&T or get a le­gal work per­mit.”

The re­port has caused a buzz among some Venezue­lan net­works and groups in T&T.

Young, how­ev­er, shot down that in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Gov­ern­ment’s amnesty/reg­is­tra­tion process which ends Fri­day.

Re­spond­ing to Guardian Me­dia’s query, Young said, “When we an­nounced the reg­is­tra­tion pol­i­cy, we specif­i­cal­ly stat­ed that the reg­is­tra­tion process will not count or be utilised to­wards cit­i­zen­ship or res­i­den­cy—that is ex­press pol­i­cy.”

In Par­lia­ment’s Ques­tion Time, UNC MP Roodal Mooni­lal asked Young if he agreed with the Am­bas­sador’s state­ments on the is­sue.

Young told Mooni­lal, “No, as we specif­i­cal­ly said when we an­nounced the pol­i­cy eight weeks ago, noth­ing with the reg­is­tra­tion of these peo­ple from Venezuela gives them any­thing un­der the Im­mi­gra­tion Act to­wards be­com­ing cit­i­zens or res­i­dents of T&T—we were very spe­cif­ic on that. This (reg­is­tra­tion) is a one year pe­ri­od for hu­man­i­tar­i­an pur­pos­es.”

Young al­so hit the Op­po­si­tion for what he said was xeno­pho­bia on the Venezue­lan is­sue.

He replied in that vein when asked by UNC MP Vidya Gayadeen-Gopeesingh what mea­sure are be­ing im­ple­ment­ed to ad­dress the in­crease of rob­beries in­volv­ing Venezue­lan na­tion­als.

Young, how­ev­er, replied in­stead, “There’s no doubt in our minds that what they’re (Op­po­si­tion) pro­mot­ing is xeno­pho­bia.

In fact, this morn­ing at our meet­ing with Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty heads, I drew it to their at­ten­tion there’s a spe­cif­ic plot by cer­tain per­sons...”

UNC MP Rod­ney Charles cut off Young, ob­ject­ing that Young was im­put­ing im­prop­er mo­tive.

How­ev­er, Young con­tin­ued, point­ing out that three of the four ques­tions on yes­ter­day’s Par­lia­ment agen­da were all based on Venezue­lan is­sues. He added, “The Venezue­lans aren’t the ma­jor cause of crime in T&T.”

Young said yes­ter­day’s se­cu­ri­ty heads meet­ing ex­am­ined is­sues in­clud­ing on how to deal with the con­tin­ued sug­ges­tion that the Venezue­lans are the source of all crime.

He added that se­cu­ri­ty heads are al­so han­dling hu­man traf­fick­ing, el­e­ments of or­gan­ised crime and el­e­ments who may be in­volved in crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ty and may be of Venezue­lan na­tion­al­i­ty. “But they’re not the on­ly ones in­volved in crime,” he added.

Mooni­lal asked if he agreed with the Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er’s state­ment that the “ill ad­vised and ill con­ceived” open­ing of T&T bor­ders has left this coun­try at the mer­cy of crim­i­nal el­e­ments com­ing from Venezue­lan.

Mooni­lal said the CoP wasn’t an Op­po­si­tion MP.

Young said he didn’t know the CoP made those state­ments.



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