T&T task force to help deported persons

(Trinidad Express) Former Prisons commissioner John Rougier will be appointed as chairman of the deportee task force today.
Minister of the People Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh told the Express yesterday Rougier will head the team, which will be implementing a plan of action from early next year, aimed at assisting persons who were deported to Trinidad and Tobago from other countries.
Ramadharsingh said former chairman William Latchman, who died earlier this year, delivered sterling service during his tenure and will be ho­noured for his dedicated service.
Latchman died on the job some two months ago when he suffered a heart attack while in attendance at a stakeholder discussion on deportees.
“He worked very hard; he was a great person and gave sterling service to the ministry in this regard,” said Rama­dhar­­singh.
The minister said the number of persons being deported from First World countries like the United States and United Kingdom was a major challenge which the Carib­bean region faces because of new immigration laws and (US) Homeland Security initiatives.
He noted countries such as Jamaica and Barbados are also dealing with deportees.
“We have to address how to get these people back into productive activity and how do we keep them away from crime and get them into productive jobs.”
Ramadharsingh said while the National Security Minister will deal with issues from a security standpoint, his ministry will address the social concerns and implement training programmes, counselling and psychosocial support, among other measures to assist deportees.
He said in the same way the ministry was proactive in dealing with street dwellers, the ministry was also committed to implementing a plan of action with respect to assisting deportees from early next year.
Jamaican High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago Sharon Saun­ders commented on the issue when questioned by the Express yesterday.
She said this was a matter that was not new but decades old as people have been depor­ted from the UK and US over the years.
Saunders said this was a glo­bal problem and not limited to any one place.
The high commissioner said governments need to collaborate and co-operate on the matter as it related to people with families.
She said this issue has a “real human face” as it relates to in