Three days before the end of the registration process, hundreds of Venezuelan nationals remain hopeful they will get the chance to register in Tobago.
Most of them left long lines at the two registration centres in Trinidad and travelled to Tobago with the hope that they can register at the Caroline Building, in Scarborough easily.
On Wednesday morning, many migrants returned to the Tobago centre having slept at various guests houses and hotels for free.
Former director of the Institute of International Relations (IIR) at the University of the West Indies' St Augustine campus, Andy Knight, is supporting Government's decision to provide refuge to Venezuelan migrants who are fleeing the deteriorating conditions in their country. However, he is also advising that this should not be done in an ad-hoc manner to avoid any future complications.
T&T is grappling with economic migrants since Venezuelans began to seek refuge here and it is a fact that the country has seen an uptick in “certain of the crimes” as result of some of the migrant issues, says Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.
“The Police Commissioner can speak to that himself,” Al-Rawi added in Senate on Tuesday.
“But suffice to say the number of murders has been noted to have risen as a result of some of our migration issues. I’m not talking only about Venezuela, I’m talking about other positions.”
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.
With the end of the registration period drawing close and the migrant numbers increasing, Venezuelans are appealing to the Government to extend the deadline.
The appeal came as hundreds of Venezuelans, many with their babies and children, converge daily outside of Achievor’s Banquet Hall in Duncan Village, San Fernando for hours, hoping to be registered.
Thousands of Venezuelan migrants are expected to enter the country’s workforce following Government’s recent registration policy programme and while employment will provide many with the lifeline needed during their stay, no measures have been implemented by the government for the state’s coffers to reap any benefits.
Imam Yusuf Diab, of the Crown Point Muslim sect, applauds Government’s move to register and offer Venezuelans employment and medical services for one year.
Speaking with Guardian Media at the Crown Point Masjid on the eve of the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, the Imam said he is happy the Government began the initiative.
He made it clear that as an Orthodox sect, his organisation did not get involved in Governments’ affairs.
However, as a businessman, he saw “the registration as a good idea.”