N Touch
Monday 22 July 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Close borders now to Venezuelan invasion

File photo: Coast Guard
File photo: Coast Guard

THE EDITOR: I am not saying to be inhumane to the plight of Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia or Afghanistan. But TT is not a dumping ground for starving refugees. We would never be a great or sustainable nation if we have a careless humanitarian approach without any restrictions, and are flooded by an unregulated invasion that has no lid or criteria whatsoever. The Rowley regime is wrong.

On November 7, 2018, National Security Stuart Young announced that “the Cabinet had taken a decision to restore 14 coast guard interceptor vessels back into service in the shortest possible time” to protect our coastlines. Five months later, he announced two vessels were sent to Tobago. What about the other 12? A nation without border protection has lost its sovereignty.

Today, Venezuela has daily press advertisements promoting the TT amnesty. My friends from many landing sites have confirmed that this week smugglers’ vessels have been arriving three-four times more than before. Landing sites where normally two or three vessels were entering our borders now have ten-15 vessels entering every night, each with 20 to 25 refugees.

We are registering ever increasing numbers of Venezuelans at the expense of our long-suffering citizens. We are being invaded while Cabinet welcomes them. Is this wise leadership or a gross national betrayal?

Who is going to employ our young when Venezuelans are willing to work for next to nothing to survive? Where will our vulnerable 20,000 school-leavers find jobs each year? There are more Venezuelans in TT today than there are Vincentians, Grenadians, Nigerians, Guyanese, Syrians and Chinese put together. Venezuelans now form the largest minority.

Fast food outlets are advertising for employees in Spanish. TT nationals would not work for the minimum wage because it is insufficient to survive in this economy. Businesses must be accommodating, innovative and productive to afford to employ our own people. These are our own children. What is the Rowley regime saying? That we should orphan our children and adopt others?

As business people we have a calling to corporate social responsibility and a higher moral duty to our country and our people. We must not remain silent but instead we are being encouraged to betray TT nationals and just say “we’ll employ Venezuelans because our people are lazy.” This discriminatory rubbish must stop now.

We must make TT strong first.

Open borders are wrong. Cabinet is failing us by knowingly doing nothing to protect our sovereignty.

Our healthcare system and public services cannot accommodate tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of additional people. Remember, not all are registering; the Immigration Division has never been able to control illegal immigration and, inevitably, the Venezuelan invasion will snowball.

We have a duty to our people first. We must demand our borders are closed now.

The open-border Rowley Cabinet has led us down a path that will take generations to repair.

GARY ABOUD, St James

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