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Tuesday 22 October 2019
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Young, riot squad clear road after chaos at Oval registration

National Security Minister Stuart Young at the Queen's Park Oval. Photo by James Lanser
National Security Minister Stuart Young at the Queen's Park Oval. Photo by James Lanser

Minister of National Security Stuart Young armed with a hand-held megaphone and accompanied by riot squad police went to the Queens Park Oval after mass confusion erupted among Venezuelans attempting to register.

After many migrants failed to form a proper line, Young threatened that if order was not restored to what it was in previous days, the process would be shut down entirely.

Outside the Oval this morning there were over 2,000 Venezuelan migrants attempting to register. Some attempted to skip the line leading to disorder and almost halting the entire process. Police then began to shout at migrants who were pushing their way to the front of the line.

"You are in Trinidad. Order or else out!" said one officer to a Venezuelan boy who had pushed his way to the front.

Some migrants told Newsday they were trying to get registered for four days now and Venezuelans who had only come for the first time today were going straight to the front of the line.

At around 8.45 am Young arrived with a large police contingent and pleaded with the migrants to form a proper line and then proceed one-by-one to registration.

Young said, "I don't want anyone crowding the gate. You all have been doing very well, let's keep it up and everyone will get registered."

He made it clear that "there is not going to be any extension of the registration process."

Eventually the chaos subsided and the Venezuelans formed a line on the pavement.

Throughout all of the confusion it appeared that officers were attempting to let women and children through first. Many migrants were complaining about being left outside the Oval without a bathroom or shelter.

One Trinidadian who was helping out said, "This is crazy, they should at least allow them to go inside and utilise the seats for the line instead of having people stand up here. This is leading to complete disorder and unfairness for those who have been waiting days now to register."

The riot squad came out to clear the road but there were no conflicts between them and the migrants.

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