THE Ministry of National Security says contact has been made with the Venezuelan Embassy in Port of Spain and the ministry was told that three citizens were taken into custody for allegedly fishing illegally in Venezuelan waters.
In a statement yesterday, the ministry said the incident continues to engage its attention, however the three men are due to appear in a Venezuelan court at a time and date still to be confirmed.
“Based on information received from the Venezuelan authorities thus far, several TT vessels were pursued by Venezuelan vessels, for fishing illegally in Venezuelan waters,” the ministry said.
“The chase apparently encroached into the waters of TT.”
The ministry said it should be noted that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, makes it illegal to enter the waters of a sovereign state without permission of that state, and the TT Coast Guard maintains a steady presence on the South Coast of Trinidad as part of its routine operations.
“With respect to the incident, the TT Coast Guard reported that during routine operations (on Thursday), two
unidentified pirogues were observed crossing between Venezuela and TT waters. However, it appeared that
when the chasing vessels observed the TT Coast Guard vessel, they retreated to Venezuelan waters. The Coast Guard vessel, in accordance with international law, did not pursue those vessels into Venezuelan waters.”
Newsday visited the Venezuelan Embassy on Victoria Avenue yesterday but was told that it was closed until Monday.
Speaking with Newsday yesterday, Yesenia Gonzalez, head of the Caribbean Relief Mission said the arrest was a small symptom of a much larger problem in Venezuela, referring to reports of widespread looting and lawlessness in the streets. She is predicting that similar arrests were to be expected in the future.