Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, in yet another statement on illegal Venezuelan immigrants, has pointed out that the issue of allowing migrants in is never a temporary situation.
Invariably, he said, it results in a permanent movement of populations and that is something well known to UNHCR personnel who exploit these crises to inflate and sustain their own operational budgets.
The following is his full statement:
Did you hear the opportunistic carbuncle called Moonilal?
Do you think his tone was too angry or too condemnatory of a country that has done more than ANY other in the region in response to the plight of migrants from Venezuelans?
Are you all aware that if we appear to be a “soft touch “flexible border neighbour that in a jiffy we will be overrun by tens of thousands of Venezuelans.
The fact is that even as you and others decry and bemoan our own circumstances here our life and living opportunities are still very attractive to many Venezuelans and others.
Finally, this issue of allowing migrants in is never a temporary situation. Invariably it results in a permanent movement of populations and that is something well known to UNHCR personnel who exploit these crises to inflate and sustain their own operational budgets. Why do you think that our open registration netted 16,000 persons when the lines became empty after two weeks of registration yet the UNHCR personnel keep inflating the figure to 60,000 even as their own registration is 12,000?
Is it that having provided comfort and legal registered status to the thousands of Venezuelans already here (many of whom came in illegally) that they now have the right to illegally import all their families, friends and trafficked customers into Trinidad and Tobago? The answer to this question is very simple and covered by existing laws including a visa system.
However, the next question that would and should exercise the authorities in Trinidad and Tobago is what is to happen with the thousands of Venezuelan families who are registered here?
Clearly it will not be acceptable for them to remain as people at the margins of our society, eking out a living with children not able to be properly schooled or even being born here as new citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
Clearly wholescale deportation or forced repatriation is not a feasible option. It is against this background that protection of all persons within our borders need to have their present and future circumstances protected by our suite of laws enacted specifically for this purpose.