Councillor for Cedros Shankar Teelucksingh has said hundreds of Venezuelans are on the loose in TT in search of a living and it is cause for concern.
Over the weekend four ferries carrying scores of Venezuelans came in to the Cedros port, he said.
“We have an invasion of Venezuelans in the country and the police and the coast guards are not detaining anyone. They are all free to enter the country and get registered,” Teelucksingh said. It is a free-for-all, he said, as anyone can enter the country and claim asylum, and this is a breeding ground for crime and social problems. Those who have registered are contacting their friends and relatives in their homeland, he said, to get on a boat and come to TT.
Soon Venezuelans will be giving birth here, he warned, and their children will be TT-born Venezuelans, and with these strong roots would come the planting of their own practices and customs.
“It is not uncommon to see the Venezuelan women with very little clothing all over the beachfront and into Cedros and south TT,” he said. Videos and pictures, he said, are now making the rounds on social media.
He complained, “According to a statement made by Central Bank governor Alvin Hilaire, monies will be used from the Treasury for this registration and accommodation process and this is taxpayers’ money being used.”
He is calling on the government to put something better in place rather than just “release” these migrants into the communities.
“We would have seen over the weekend where there are increases in social and criminal activities taking place in the country,” Teelucksingh said.
There are several cases in Cedros where men are leaving their marital homes and families and “shacking up” with Venezuelan women.
“Clearly our safety is being threatened in more than one way,” he commented.
He said the influx of these immigrants will affect citizens in terms of employment as the government has waived national insurance payments for those who have registered. He described National Security Minister Stuart Young’s accommodating all Venezuelans as ridiculous, saying no other country in the world would allow people to just register and start living among the citizens. “Employers will now hire workers with no NIS number. Therefore the citizens will suffer, as they in turn will need to have an NIS number before they could register for any job,” he said.