With an estimated 300 Venezuelans living on the island, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the People’s National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council, Kwesi DesVignes said TT had a responsibility to reach out to them.
Asked to comment on the matter at yesterday’s People’s National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council press conference at the Council’s Scarborough office, DesVignes, who also serves as Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), said: “As signatories to the UN, as good human beings, we have to do our part as humanitarians first and foremost. Of course, we have constrictions as any other country, we have limitations with resources as any other country in the world and we want to ensure that the people of TT are always seen about."
DesVignes added: “The reality is… we have to be our neighbours keeper, because persons are coming and we want to know who is coming. Recently, the national media and the local media would have carried a story that said Tobago needs another 100,000 people, if it is that we need another 100,000 Venezuelans I don’t know.
“What I can say is that some people are sounding a lot like a recent world leader criticised in an election… some people sound like they want to build a wall around TT and I don’t know that that is the way that we need to go forward."
However, he said the situation must be managed.
“We need to have control. Yes, we need to know who are all of the persons within our borders. Yes, we need to know who are the persons that would be accessing our public services. Yes, but do we need to build walls, set up guns and barriers to protect our borders to ensure that nobody comes in? I don’t know that this is the way.”
Registration for Venezuelans immigrants begins tomorrow. In Tobago, the registration exercise takes place at the Caroline Building over a two-week period.