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Tuesday 16 July 2019
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Tobago police ready for last day of registration

File photo: Venezuelans wait to register at Caroline Building in Scarborough on Tuesday. Hundreds of Venezuelans have been coming to Tobago to escape the long lines and chaos in Trinidad.
File photo: Venezuelans wait to register at Caroline Building in Scarborough on Tuesday. Hundreds of Venezuelans have been coming to Tobago to escape the long lines and chaos in Trinidad.

ACP Ansley Garrick said Tobago police are ready for the influx tomorrow in Scarborough on the final day of Venezuelan registration at the Tobago station. He said they are also prepared to restore order if any event may occur as the deadline arrives.

Garrick told Newsday on Thursday at the registration building it is clear not all Venezuelans in Scarborough would be registered before 5 pm on Friday.

“As the doors close and the exercise is over, they know there is an expectation that if you are not registered you will be here illegally, and won’t be able to access certain necessities. For tomorrow, when the deadline comes, police can handle whatever happens next. It is clear they understand the process will end and that time will come, even though they all hope they will get through, but all might not.”

He said, “Five o’clock will come, the doors will close. What is the next step? This is why we are monitoring the airbridge and seabridge daily to see if they that came if they are returning at the same pace.

“We have a record of the names and addresses from Saturday. The persons who are here now compared to Saturday, there have only been two migrants using Tobago addresses, so the rest are from Trinidad.

He said he has asked the Special Branch and port security to deliver a daily report whether those who came are returning to Trinidad or not, and had been pleased to hear the day before on three sailings there were large numbers of people returning to Trinidad.

He said he still expects a number of Venezuelans to remain on the island and will be organising a system to check the number after the amnesty period.

“We want to make a pronouncement: so far we know around 300 were registered in Tobago before the influx from Trinidad. Our concerns now are with the (number) that are here and whether they are returning.”

He said the police intend to be proactive.

One Venezuelan migrant David Sliver, told Newsday on Thursday morning the others believe when the doors closes at 5pm today, police will begin to arrest those who are not registered. Sliver, who was holding number 548, said the process was moving faster, and he hoped he would be able to register before the time was up.

“There are over 900 people here waiting. The numbers are growing and we hope the time will be extended. What we think – because we have no officials telling us what will happen – as soon as they close the door tomorrow, they are going to start to look around for the people to lock up the people. We don’t know if this if true or not. Unless they speed up the process many of us will get through tomorrow. I am also hearing that people who have their codes from online they will be allowed to finish registering.” He hopes the government will extend the period by a week and speed up the process.

Chairman of the Dr Eric Williams Memorial Committee Reginald Vidale on Wednesday called on the government to extend the registration for a week to accommodate those who are doing their best to meet the deadline but who have been unable to because the process takes so long.

Vidale yesterday distributed cases of water to Venezuelans outside the Caroline Building registration centre in Tobago.

In Tobago 823 people had been registered up to noon on Wednesday.

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