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Wednesday 17 July 2019
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200 Venezuelans every week by boat; more coming illegally

File Photo: Jeff Mayers
File Photo: Jeff Mayers

There are 150 to 200 Venezuelans entering this country by boat every week and larger numbers are arriving illegally.

Acting Chief Immigration Office Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews reported that 90 per cent of the Venezuelans currently detained at the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Aripo had entered the country illegally or had criminal convictions such as possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking or arms and ammunitions. She also reported at the IDC there were currently 37 males and 30 females from Venezuela which was more than half of the 120 people currently detained.

She was speaking on Friday as representatives of the national security ministry met with the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights, Equality and Diversity at Parliament yesterday.

She said the numbers of Venezuelans entering this country from legal ports of entry had reduced from 60,000 between 2014 and 2015 to about 28,000 last year. Gandhi-Andrews pointed out they do not have the numbers for Venezuelans entering the country illegally but she surmised that with the numbers being picked up for entering illegally she could safely say that larger numbers are arriving illegally and more were being detained.

She also reported that the numbers of Venezuelans that had applied for asylum has increased from five in 2016 to today about 2,000 and daily those numbers being added to.

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