NATIONAL Security Minister Stuart Young maintained yesterday that both he and the Prime Minister are in sync with the registration process for Venezuelan migrants and on the position that criminals among the migrants will be deported.
The Venezuelan Migration Registration Process is set to take place in TT between May 31 to June 15, allowing those fleeing economic and political turmoil in their country the opportunity to live and work here for a specified period.
Since Young announced the amnesty several weeks ago, there has been an influx of illegal migrants coming through TT’s borders and engaging the efforts the national security forces, especially the police and immigration divisions in the deep south.
Earlier this week, 101 migrants, among them pregnant women and children were picked up in the forest in Santa Flora after being dropped off by pirogues.
Dr Rowley said that while TT was lending a humanitarian hand, help could not be unlimited.
Rowley told the post-Cabinet media briefing last Thursday, that visitors who engaged in any criminal conduct would be deported as the welfare of the people of TT came first. He also said Venezuela had to deal with its own problems.
Young, who also gave a statement on the registration process at that briefing, clarified that a statement he had previously made that “no one will be turned away” and which could be contradictory to what the PM said, was taken out of context.
He explained yesterday that his position was in sync with that of the PM.
He referred to his statement, “Of course the registration centres can only take a certain number of persons on a daily basis so what we will be doing is trying to manage that process. No one is going to be turned away,” did not mean that no one would be turned away from TT’s borders.
“This was misused. I maintain that we continue to do all that we can to patrol our borders and uphold the law.”
He said his statement was an assurance that no one would be turned away from the registration centres.
“Yesterday, I reiterated the Prime Minister and the Government’s policy on the Venezuela Migration Registration Process while reassuring citizens that Venezuelans who are ex-convicts and would have committed serious crimes, will not be granted registration status in TT and will be deported.
“I stated, at the end of the day, TT continues to respect its international treaty obligations but I am saying here very clearly, that this Government, as you heard the Prime Minister say yesterday, at the end of the day, this Government is very clear that its first mandate and its first priority are to the people of TT.
“I hope that this clarifies any misconceptions that there is a difference between the Prime Minister’s position and mine as the Minister of National Security on the issue of the Venezuela Migration Registration Process,” Young said.
Only last week, the leader of the notorious Evander gang nicknamed “El Coulon” was among eight illegal Venezuelans held in Point Fortin with arms and ammunition.