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Monday 17 June 2019
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Tobago

[UPDATED] ‘Gracias TT’

The slip given to registered Venezuelans at Queen's Park Oval, St Clair.

Photo: Jeff K Mayers
The slip given to registered Venezuelans at Queen's Park Oval, St Clair. Photo: Jeff K Mayers

TOBAGO BUREAU

VICTOR Alfonzo of Venezuela expressed gratitude for the amnesty provided to il­le­gal Venezue­lans living in TT.

Alfonzo, who has been living in Tobago for the past two years, spoke with Newsday yesterday outside the Caroline Building, Wilson Road, Scarborough, as Venezuelans trickled in to take advantage of the amnesty, while police and soldiers stood guard outside.
He said it was a huge opportunity.

“Right now, we have much more Venezuelans than when I arrived two years ago.
“I think it’s a commendable break, as the Government together with the citizens are making a great effort to embrace and help our country.

It would have a big impact on the Government…bad or good, we would see, but things will be different,” he said.

Alfonso was granted a work permit to teach music and Spanish as part of a cultural exchange programme. He accompanied his wife, who visits him occasionally.

“My wife comes and goes, and now we are trying to make things legal, doing things the right way.
She came to Tobago one week ago for the registration process, so this time she would be able to stay with me for the whole year.

“We arrived at 7.30. We registered online last night.
“She brought all the documents and everything with it.

“The process should have taken three minutes, according to what we read, but so far, she been inside like three hours, so I don’t know how difficult it is.

“I’ve seen some people come and leave because they don’t have the complete papers, but so far they haven’t come back,” he said.

Describing Tobago as an island paradise, Alfonzo said he has not been in contact with very many of his friends from back home.

“Tobago is a paradise; this is the capital of Paradise. I love being here.

It’s peaceful, its quiet.

The people have been so friendly, so nice, they made me feel comfortable since the very first day.
I can say that I have found friends and family here,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Au­brey Hen­der­son, another Venezuelan who has been liv­ing and work­ing in To­ba­go for the past 18 months.

Hen­der­son said he hoped the reg­is­tra­tion will al­low him to ac­quire a food badge so he can legal­ly con­tin­ue his job as a snowcone ven­dor. “This is a good opportunity.

“I feel good because I would be able to get an opportunity to do my job with no fear.
“We as Venezuelans working here, we fear, we see the police, we hide.

“We are now able to do things legal through this process, I can get my food badge, because I sell snow cone.
I tried to get my food badge before, but the people from the health service, they told me no, I can’t.

So now I am able to get my food badge and do everything legal with no problems,” he said.
The registration of Venezuelan migrants in Tobago got off to a very slow start shortly after 7am, as very few people were seen trickling into the building.

As the Venezuelans left, they told Newsday the process inside was very quick and smooth, thanks to the limited number of applicants.

This was confirmed by police outside, who reported that a maximum of 20 people had ventured in up to lunchtime.

This story was originally published with the title "Tobago: Slow start to V'zuelan registration " and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

The registration of Venezuelan migrants in Tobago got off to a very slow start shortly after 7am, as very few people were seen trickling into the Caroline Building in Scarborough to take advantage of the amnesty for Venezuelans.

As the Venezuelans left the building, they told Newsday the process inside was very quick and smooth, thanks to the limited number of applicants. This was confirmed by police stationed outside the building, who reported that a maximum of 20 people had ventured in up to lunchtime.

The registration process will run until June 14, with the centres open from 7 am and closing at 5 p.m. daily.

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