TWENTY-TWO Venezuelans, among them a teacher, on Tuesday appeared before a San Fernando magistrate charged with entering the country illegally. They were fined a total of $57,000.
They were taken before senior magistrate Jo-Anne Connor. The charges were read to the 20 men and two women that they entered the county illegally, on unknown dates, at places which are not ports of entries. They pleaded guilty. Police found them at a farm in Erin. Through interpreter Luz Marina Topias De Copilah, they told the court that they came seeking better lives.
One man said he was a teacher in Venezuela. Others said they were pursuing degrees at universities and were unable to complete it owing to the economic and political crisis in their country.
Others also told the magistrate they had to leave their children behind with hopes of working in Trinidad to get money to help their families.
The charge against a 45-year-old woman, a police trainee, and a university student were dismissed.
The magistrate then ordered the others to each pay a fine of $3,000 or in default serve six months in prison. They were given three months to pay the fines.