T&T Cabinet approves Venezuelan amnesty policy

(Trinidad Guardian) As Government announced a two-weeks registration process of Venezuelans living in T&T, which will begin next month, National Security Minister Stuart Young on Thursday admitted they expect to face difficulties with the entire “process” which is expected to cost taxpayers $5 million.

One difficulty, Young envisage was that certain individuals would want to pass themselves off as Venezuelans, claiming they don’t have national identifications cards.

Young made the announcement of the registration of all illegal and legal Vene-zuelans living in T&T which will begin on May 31 and ends on June 14 at Thursday’s post-Cabinet media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, which he said Cabinet had approved to determine the number of Venezuelans residing here.

The 14-days of registration will take place in Port-of-Spain, San Fernando, Cedros, Arima and Scarborough between the hours of 7 am and 5 pm under the supervision of the Ministry of National Security who will work in collaboration with the Children’s Authority and Health Ministry.

Venezuelans housed at the Immigration Detention Centre will be also be allowed to register.

Throngs of Venezuelans have been arriving in T&T for months in a bid to flee Venezuela’s economic and political crisis.

The United Nations records of May 2018 reported that there were approximately 40,000 living in T&T- a figure which Young said had some degree of uncertainty.

In giving details of the registration process, Young said Venezuelans must first provide some proof of their nationality, following which they would be required to full out a form, be fingerprinted, photographed, face a medical examination and give their local address and contact number.

Venezuelans without identification cards or passports would be asked to sign a statutory declaration form and report to the police.

During registration, translators will be available, Young said.

Following this, they will be provided with a registration card which would allow them to work for one year.

At the end of the first six months, Young said the Venezuelans would have to provide the Immigration Division with an update on their status.

“They may be granted an extension for another six months.”

Young said his ministry will work with Interpol and agencies in Venezuela to ensure the information on the forms submitted are accurate.

“If we find that persons lied on their forms we reserve the right to deport them. This is not a get out of jail card for criminals. If anyone commits any criminal act in T&T that registration card will not help you. You will be arrested, charged and incarcerated,” Young said.

Young said his ministry will work closely with Interpol who will provide our Government with a criminal watch-list.

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