Trinidad: Minister defends use of Queen’s Park Oval for Venezuelan migrant registrations

Queen’s Park Oval

(Trinidad Guardian) Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Stu­art Young has de­fend­ed his min­istry’s de­ci­sion to rent the Queen’s Park Oval to use as one of the venues for the reg­is­tra­tion of Venezue­lans liv­ing in this coun­try lat­er this week.

His de­fence came yes­ter­day af­ter Op­po­si­tion ac­tivist De­vant Ma­haraj ques­tioned how much it would cost to rent the fa­cil­i­ty and shared a no­tice the Queen’s Park Crick­et Club (QPCC), which man­ages the venue, post­ed to its mem­bers.

In the no­tice, QPCC mem­bers were ad­vised that parts of the Oval will be used to fa­cil­i­tate the reg­is­tra­tion ex­er­cise, which runs from May 31-June 14 in­clu­sive of week­ends. It al­so ad­vised that there will be a heavy po­lice and army pres­ence at the Oval dur­ing the pe­ri­od and that some car parks and en­trances will be closed off to ac­com­mo­date the reg­is­tra­tion.

Ma­haraj ques­tioned why the Gov­ern­ment had cho­sen to rent the Oval when the ex­er­cise could be done at a state-owned venue like Hasley Craw­ford Sta­di­um at no cost to tax­pay­ers.

How­ev­er, in a re­sponse, Young said the ar­eas be­ing used must be used ex­clu­sive­ly by Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty for the two-week pe­ri­od. He told Guardian Me­dia he had asked his team to look at us­ing the Hase­ly Craw­ford Sta­di­um, Jean Pierre Com­plex and the Grand Stand at the Queen’s Park Sa­van­nah, but said none were avail­able ex­clu­sive­ly for the two-week pe­ri­od and there was no guar­an­tee all the equip­ment would have been se­cured.

Last week, Gov­ern­ment an­nounced that three venues will be used for the reg­is­tra­tion process in Port-of-Spain, San Fer­nan­do and To­ba­go, but stopped short of say­ing ex­act­ly where the venues were. It was pre­vi­ous­ly re­vealed the en­tire process would cost the state $5 mil­lion.

Mean­while, Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar says Venezue­lan amnesty/reg­is­tra­tion process isn’t enough and T&T will ex­pe­ri­ence a num­ber of so­cial and eco­nom­ic reper­cus­sions if it doesn’t ad­dress the Venezue­lan mi­gra­tion is­sue in a se­ri­ous, def­i­nite way.

“Our in­ter­na­tion­al im­age has al­ready been dam­aged,” she not­ed in a re­lease yes­ter­day.

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said Gov­ern­ment was now scram­bling to find a so­lu­tion af­ter the sit­u­a­tion had reached crit­i­cal lev­els.

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