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Sunday 19 May 2019
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Interpreters for 7 detained Venezuelans

Seven Venezuelan men who are believed to have entered the country illegally on Wednesday afternoon at Matelot were held by police in two groups.

Other Venezuelans in 12 fishing boats who also tried to enter the country were stopped in their tracks by alert police officers.

A release from the police sent around 9.37 pm on Wednesday said seven Venezuelans were arrested in the Grande Riviere area.

Matelot police saw a fishing boat carrying five people, who appeared to be foreigners, trying to come ashore. The police detained two men, and the other three escaped.

The two men were unable to provide proper documents and were subsequently handed over to the Immigration Division.

Around 4.30 pm on Wednesday, an additional five Venezuelans were arrested while trying to come ashore and were taken to the Matelot Police Station, to be handed over to Immigration officers.

The Air Support Unit and Coast Guard were contacted.

Police sources said on Wednesday night Commander Don Polo of the Coast Guard and his officers intercepted a vessel at Blanchisseuse and found five Venezuelans, but a search of their boat revealed nothing illegal and the men were allowed to leave. They said they were in TT waters because of the bad weather.

On Wednesday Matelot police told senior officers they had seen 12 vessels with about 120 Venezuelans aboard not far offshore. Police kept watch over the vessels and contacted the Coast Guard and Immigration officers. The 12 boats eventually left late Wednesday night for an unknown destination.

Police believe the Venezuelans were trying to enter the country illegally, though local fishermen said it was customary for Venezuelans to enter the area when there is bad weather or when they are in dire need of fuel or mechanical parts for their boats.

Police said yesterday that after interviewing the seven Venezuelans they will have a clearer understanding of what happened on Wednesday.

They said they are working on information that Matelot is now being used as a port of entry for Venezuelans coming into the country illegally.

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