NAPARIMA MP Rodney Charles has accused the Prime Minister of shedding crocodile tears over the Venezuelan influx at last Thursday’s post-Cabinet briefing and called for the resignation of National Security Minister Stuart Young.
In a statement titled, “TT is quickly being overwhelmed by Venezuelans because of your complacency,” Charles questioned Dr Rowley’s vow to protect the interest of TT ahead of Venezuelans.
“It is now too little, too late," Charles said.
He said the Opposition had long urged the Government to create a refugee policy that was humane and considered TT’s absorptive capacity and was based on international best practices.
“We warned them that the asylum amnesty should not be an arrangement that would incentivise Venezuelans to come to TT illegally and in droves.”
Charles said a system was needed to know the numbers and ages of the migrants.
“We warned them that our borders needed to be properly protected and our Coast Guard presence needed to be heightened.
“Now, with the registration period nearing, we are seeing Venezuelans rushing to enter TT by the boatloads, many of whom go undetected by our Coast Guard.”
Charles said if an ongoing registration policy had been set up earlier, there would not be a rush to register within a two-week time frame.
He said Young cannot say how many Venezuelans TT can facilitate, but simply said they will all be allowed to work for a year.
“If the PM was serious about protecting the interest of TT, this PNM administration would have acted in a manner that considered the obvious fact that a poorly-thought-out Venezuelan registration policy would result in an influx of Venezuelans which can rapidly overwhelm our capabilities.”
He said the Government’s “cluelessness and ineptitude” has become clear as events have worsened.
“We are witness to more and more Venezuelans seeking shelter at sporting facilities and even in the forests.
“I ask Minister Young now, can you finally acknowledge that we have a refugee crisis, and not a situation?”
Charles said instead of casting aspersions on UNC members, Young should do his job and craft a comprehensive plan before TT is overwhelmed.
He said the UNC's insistence that Young plans for worst-case scenarios is not unpatriotic (but) advice from those who know how to govern.
“We call on the Minister of National Security to resign, since he is clearly unable to safeguard our borders, design an acceptable refugee policy, reduce murders or instil a sense of security, safety or hope in the citizens of TT, who he was appointed to protect.”