(Trinidad Guardian) A proposal to offer all Venezuelans a one-year amnesty to live and work in T&T will be taken to Cabinet soon says National Security Minister Stuart Young.
Speaking at a press conference at the Moruga Police Station yesterday, Young said a registration process will begin soon to document and register all Venezuelan nationals. He denied that the registration process will be supervised by the Elections and Boundaries Commission.
“This registration process is simply to get the correct data of the number of Venezuelans who were staying legally and illegally in T&T. Right now you are hearing all sorts of irresponsible figures being bandied about, so for the first time we will get the real figures,” Young said.
He urged all Venezuelans to take advantage of the opportunity.
“I want to say that all Venezuelans who are here legally or illegally, we are giving you a time to register and thereafter the law will apply, “ he said.
At present, the number is unknown as dozens continue to come through the country’s porous borders. Asked whether the illegal Venezuelans will be persecuted if they came forward, Young said no.
He could not say, however, whether registration will give access to health and educational opportunities for Venezuelans who are fleeing their homeland in droves because of socio-economic collapse.
“All of those things are to be decided by Cabinet, especially the education aspect,” Young said.
For those Venezuelans who fail to come forward, Young said they will eventually face the full brunt of the law.
“At the end of the day, the authorities will ask you for your registration card and if you don’t have the card then you will be taken to the detention centre,” Young said.
He also said a collaborative crime initiative was in place to pull back on illegal entry by immigrants. This includes more coastal patrols and land surveillance, Young said. He said the US Army was also on board with the collaboration.