THE EDITOR: I am in full support of well-conceptualised humanitarian efforts to help our Venezuelan brothers and sisters, and indeed those from other countries who face untold hardship at home.
However, if the Government wants to deal with the Venezuelan refugee issue in an effective way and to mitigate the influx of Venezuelans, it should institute a far more organised approach, such as setting up refugee camps. In doing so, it will be able to solicit international assistance financially and otherwise.
The current programme of registration is in effect a programme of resettlement and possibly eventual regularisation that is discriminatory as it only offers registration to Venezuelan refugees and not those from other countries (who are by far less in number).
We have government ministers saying we need the labour and the competition in the labour force, yet we hold on to the costly government run make-work, or rather fake-work, programmes for locals. However, it is these very programmes that represent the genesis and the catalyst for the wanting work ethic in our country, which the Government is claiming to address through “competition.”
In addition, the Venezuelans who are coming are of child-bearing age so they will be reproducing with their own and with locals, a very heavy anchor and incentive to settle here for good. How on earth is the Government going to be able to send twenty, thirty, forty thousand people (some with TT-born children) back to Venezuela in a year’s time during a two-week period when the current amnesty expires. It seems an impossible undertaking.
I am a strong believer in the free movement of people worldwide as it was man who drew all these lines in the sand (boundaries). I’m a living example of that, but I must admit that this has to be under normal circumstances and in an orderly and controlled manner.
I must caution that a short-sighted and faulty management plan for this extraordinary exodus situation, especially for a small country like ours, that has its own social instabilities, can be disastrous and wreak havoc in a society that is simply not equipped.
GHASSAN YOUSEPH via e-mail