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Saturday 20 July 2019
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Minister’s statements misleading, say relatives

RELATIVES have described National Security Minister Edmund Dillon’s statement that there is no urgency on the part of the three Cedros fishermen to come home from Venezuela as misleading.

“That is not true. How could he say a thing like that? Up to now, we have not seen the minister here. I don’t understand his statement. We are worried, yet he is misleading citizens of this country,” said a relative who requested anonymity.

“Because of the crisis over there, things are tough. They have to get someone (Venezuelan boat owner) then try to get fuel for the boat to drop them off at sea. Fuel is very, very expensive over there right now and we are poor people,” the man said.

Since their arrest near Soldado Rock at sea, worried relatives have been waiting for their return.

Awardnath Hajarie, 52, is expected to marry his 52-year-old common-law wife Hermatie Sankar on May 16.

Their son Nicholas Hajarie, 26, and friend Shami Seepersad, 35, were arrested by members of the Guardia Nacional who accused them of fishing in Venezuelan waters. They were taken before a court and released.

Relatives yesterday said Hajarie’s step-son has a Venezuelan wife and the fishermen are staying at the home of her relatives. Newsday learnt that the step-son lives in Cedros but frequently visits the Spanish-speaking country.

Councillor for Cedros Shankar Teelucksingh dismissed Dillon’s statement as “false information.”

“That is not so. The fishermen are under immigration quarantine and cannot move about freely in Venezuela because they do not have a visa. They only have a permit to stay based on the travel advisory. The TT Consulate is not taking charge of this case and is feeding him wrong information,” Teelucksingh said.

The councillor said last week Sunday when the TT Coast Guard was supposed to meet the fishermen at sea, the Venezuelan Coast Guard indicated they did not have fuel to make the trip.

“That is why the fishermen stayed back. Dillon is not on top of his game. What is happening with the impounded vessel? The consulate needs to provide the resources for them to return home, Teelucksingh said.

The councillor said he and other residents are also trying to make arrangements for the men to return on the ferry.

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