THE EDITOR: One of the most embarrassing things I ever saw as a TT national were the photos and videos of National Security Minister Stuart Young shouting at Venezuelan refugees at the registration centres a few days ago. I hung my head in shame at the scenes.
Venezuela is the closest and most massive neighbour of tiny TT. We may not be able to influence in any way the political happenings of that country. When the reports of instability first began emerging a few months ago, we should have had ample time to prepare a proper response and take steps to ready us for this situation.
It is not a crisis that emerged overnight but one which we were receiving ample hints that it was coming. The minister’s actions showed that we did not prepare for it, and now that it is here we are trying a reactionary tactic that may be too little too late.
The Government, for whom the minister is the major mouthpiece, really messed up. When the first news of a pending crisis was taking place, our Government denied there was a crisis. We entered into gas deals and even sent our politicians to felicitate the ruling administration.
As word came that migrants were coming here by hundreds illegally, we did not act to secure our borders but denied a refugee crisis, and the same minister was adamant we had locked down our borders.
Then, when it became obvious that the refugees were indeed coming, the Government said that we could not take them here due to lack of resources.
This then moved to a registration process where all would be registered and allowed to work for one year.
Now the latest position is that we will not be accepting migrants beyond the period of registration which ended yesterday. I wonder what will be the Government’s position in the next few days?
To quote this very minister who is now panicking, shouting at and threatening not to register refugees, the Government had a very well thought-out position with regard to Venezuela.
My heart really reaches out to all the refugees seeking protection from Mother TT. She is loving and nurtures us all, but she has been pillaged by the whims of politicians of yesterday and today.
As we banded together as citizens when the Government dropped the ball on major flooding last year, let us get together and help each other and our guests. I urge everyone, threat our Venezuelan brothers and sisters with love and respect. Do not violate their human rights.
We may not be able to support ourselves fully, but this should never justify mistreating others. And remember that when the time comes to do our civic duty, we must ensure that we remind our politicians that we remember they did not do theirs.
VEDAVID MANICK, Sangre Grande