T&T National Security Minister tells detained Venezuelans: Amnesty coming

National Security Minister Stuart Young speaks to Venezuelan nationals detained at the Immigration Detention Centre during his visit to the facility, yesterday.

(Trinidad Guardian) A loud round of ap­plause and cheers of prais­es and grat­i­tude erupt­ed from the bas­ket­ball court at the Im­mi­gra­tion De­ten­tion Cen­tre (IDC) in Aripo yes­ter­day when Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young shared a ray of hope to the Venezue­lan de­tainees telling them that they may soon be freed and al­lowed to work in T&T for one year soon.

Young, who toured the fa­cil­i­ty for more than one hour, dis­closed to the Guardian Me­dia that he will be tak­ing a pol­i­cy to Cab­i­net this week on the pro­posed Venezue­lan amnesty.

“Once Cab­i­net takes a de­ci­sion then we reg­is­ter all Venezue­lan Na­tion­als in­clud­ing those who are at the IDC who over­stayed or en­tered il­le­gal­ly…we will have dis­cre­tion and we’ll have them reg­is­tered but if they have com­mit­ted any crime or crim­i­nal acts then we are not go­ing to re­lease them, “ Young said.

“Once cab­i­net pass­es the pol­i­cy then we will reg­is­ter you and you will be al­lowed to work legal­ly in this coun­try for a year so you will be free to come out and earn a liv­ing etc, “ he added.

The pol­i­cy po­si­tion for il­le­gal and le­gal Venezue­lans in Trinidad and To­ba­go to be al­lowed an amnesty where they will be giv­en ID cards and al­lowed to work in the coun­try for one year was first an­nounced in March by Young dur­ing a post-Cab­i­net news con­fer­ence at the Diplo­mat­ic Cen­tre, St Ann’s.

Young said then that his rec­om­men­da­tion would be that the reg­is­tra­tion of Venezue­lans take place over a two-week pe­ri­od and the lo­gis­tics would be worked out.

He had urged Venezue­lans to come for­ward when the reg­is­tra­tion be­gins, as he as­sured no one would be de­tained and they had noth­ing to fear.

Iron­i­cal­ly, Young’s vis­it to the fa­cil­i­ty came just mere hours af­ter an­oth­er es­cape where this time five de­tainees man­aged to es­cape and up to press time were still miss­ing. They were iden­ti­fied as four Venezue­lan na­tion­als and one Chi­nese.

Af­ter the your of the IDC at about 4 pm Young ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion.

“ I am just here to get down on­to the ground and un­der­stand ex­act­ly what our fa­cil­i­ties are. I have toured all the pris­ons ex­cept Car­rera Is­land. I have toured a num­ber of po­lice sta­tions, army bases and Coast Guard Etc. Af­ter tour­ing the IDC I will then tour the East­ern Cor­rec­tion­al Fa­cil­i­ty. I un­der­stand that the IDC is full to ca­pac­i­ty and I’m want­i­ng to find more room at the East­ern Cor­rec­tion­al Fa­cil­i­ty. These tours will en­able me to get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing as to what is go­ing on and how to bet­ter them… more im­por­tant­ly,“ Young said.

Just be­fore Young emerged from the IDC a Venezue­lan Na­tion­al cried to the Guardian Me­dia stat­ing much frus­tra­tion with him be­ing de­tained at the fa­cil­i­ty for “just be­ing in the coun­try il­le­gal­ly and want­i­ng to work and bet­ter his life.”

The Venezue­lan na­tion­al said it is un­fair to him as he has three chil­dren to take care of, all of whom he said are Trinida­di­ans.

“We want Free­dom!” the Venezue­lan na­tion­al shout­ed.

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