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Monday 22 July 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Extend registration of V'zuelans

THE EDITOR: Two loud cheers for the Government of Tt, thus far, for its handling, over the last year, of the crisis facing the Venezuelan nation and people. If the Government now extends the registration period for undocumented Venezuelans, it would surely deserve a resounding three cheers!

The Government’s position of non-Intervention in the internal political affairs of Venezuela is the correct one. The opportunism displayed by the US and UK governments – sanctions upon sanctions, the picking of an "interim president," the global harrying and harassing of corporations doing business with Venezuela, the decision by the UK government to freeze the transfer of Venezuelan gold bullion in its banks – is reprehensible. The decision by the official Trinidad Opposition Party to support the US-picked "interim president" is even more reprehensible. The internal political affairs of Venezuela are best left to the Venezuelans; with the assistance of credible and worthy international support.

The Government’s decision to register and document undocumented Venezuelans is also a correct and progressive one. It has precipitated a wave of public assistance for Venezuelans waiting in line at registration centres. This decision makes the work of army, police, the coast guard, and the law enforcers on the ground and in Parliament, much easier. I myself, after the first day of registration, became alarmed by media reports that there was some abuse and mistreatment of Venezuelan at these centres. I visited outside the registration centre at Duncan Village the following morning; to verify, to assist, to see what, in my small capacity I could do; and found the process, the policy, army, officials, to be orderly and dignified. I interfered not.

But the cheers for the Government end there. Perhaps there was some panic in making its decision to not extend the deadline for registration, and its decision on some ICE (after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Unit) policy to manage undocumented Venezuelans. Perhaps it panicked on seeing all manner of strident complaints by some of our citizens and the Opposition. But having taken a bold and ethical decision to register the undocumented Venezuelans, it must be fair; it must stick to its guns; it must follow through. It must continue on the path of dignity for itself, and that of the victims of state mismanagement, and international geo-politics, in Venezuela. If there are "bad honchos" amongst the Venezuelans, this is not a reason to withdraw dignified and practical support.

The Government ought to earn itself another cheer. Deny the nay-sayers and sadists. Extend the period for registration of undocumented Venezuelans by one week.

To say that 15,000 persons have registered is different to saying that there are 15,000 undocumented Venezuelans in TT; there are thousands more! In the long run, such an extension will make the work of our law enforcers, the Catholic Church, the UN, and the ordinary citizens of TT easier. Do a complete job. Make a fearless decision to alter the decision not to extend. Extend.

And forget about the name ICE; it has the ring of Gestapo terror, of punitive hunt and arrest, and is greatly to be avoided.

Wayne Kublalsingh via e-mail

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