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Tuesday 20 August 2019
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PM: TT not the solution for millions of Venezuelan migrants

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley PHOTO BY KERWIN PIERRE.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley PHOTO BY KERWIN PIERRE.

THE PRIME Minister says the migrant policy towards Venezuela will have to be adjusted as TT can only provide limited help.

"As a government we have a responsibility to protect the interest of he people of TT first and foremost. Whatever we feel about the people of Venezuela and their circumstance our first and primary responsibility is to protect the interests of the people of TT."

He was speaking Thursday at the post-Cabinet media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, Port of Spain.

Rowley said Venezuela is a huge space while TT is a tiny dot on the mouth of the Orinoco River. He noted TT has 1.3 million people while Venezuela has 33 million.

"It doesn't matter whose fault it is; Venezuelan problem is for Venezuelans. We are humanitarian, we are caring, we help. But the help TT can give has to be limited. This little island cannot be the solution to millions or hundreds of thousands of migrants leaving Venezuela. And secondly international agencies, many of them with different agendas to our interests in TT, will not encourage us into converting TT, this little island State...into any refugee camp for the larger Venezuelan public."

He continued: "To protect the interests of the people of TT we will have to limit our exposure to the fallout from Venezuela."

He said initially TT allowed the doors to remain open and Venezuelans came and could spend 90 days and return.

"As things got a little worse more of them came and we kept our doors open. But there comes a time when the volume and the presence of these economic migrants in TT will threaten the quality of life of the people of TT. And it falls to us to protect ourselves from that."

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