VENEZUELAN Hector Lucena Mijares says he is worried about his family who remains in the crisis-stricken South American country. With political turmoil between President Nicolas Maduro and Opposition Leader Juan Guaido and inflation skyrocketing due to a failing economy, millions of Venezuelans have been fleeing for greener pastures.
Mijares was at Caroline building in Scarborough on Saturday to register within the two-week amnesty period stipulated by the Government for migrants.
The registration will allow migrants to live and work here for one year and access healthcare.
After a slow opening day of registration for Venezuelans in Tobago on Friday, the numbers increased significantly on Saturday, where by noon over 40 Venezuelans left with their white slips.
On Friday, officials reported a very low turnout of just over 20 Venezuelans coming to register. But with a massive turnout in Trinidad and migrants realising what the process entailed, more Venezuelans are expected to come forward.
Alongside soldiers, ACP Ansley Garrick and his officers ensured everything ran smoothly outside Caroline building.
Mijares told Newsday he was happy to register, however, he is concerned for the well-being of the family he left in Venezuela.
He said he left the crisis-hit country with the help of strangers and came to Tobago to work in a supermarket to support his family.
As the turmoil worsens in his native country, Mijares said he hopes his family can join him in Tobago for a better life.
“Tobago people are happy and they keep helping me where I am in Buccoo. Venezuela has plenty problems, plenty poor people, much confusion. We don’t have food, no medicine, plenty (people) on the streets. I am here to help me and my family in Venezuela. No, (I) can’t bring them here now. I don’t know, maybe soon, but I worried.”
Mijares said the registration process has come as a relief for him and thanked the Government.
“I am grateful for the security and the safe place.”
A couple who has been living on the island for just over a year told Newsday the registration process took 25 minutes. Many of the Venezuelans refused to speak to the media and simply walked off smiling and staring at their stamped registration slips.
The registration exercise continues until June 14.
Police told Newsday there are approximately 300 Venezuelans living and working on the island illegally.