CONCERNS were raised by Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on the possibility that Government will to issue ID cards to Venezuelans and other non- Commonwealth citizens to enable them to vote in upcoming local and general elections.
Speaking at the UNC’s Monday Night Forum at Aranguez North Secondary School, Persad-Bissessar said Government has filed what is known as Immigration Regulations in the Parliament, which they have applied to have annulled. This, she said, could be done with a simple majority.
She said the Immigration Regulations were filed a few days before government’s amnesty registration process for the Venezuelan migrants.
She said it was only brought to the Opposition’s attention a few days ago because the way the law was framed, it has to be laid in Parliament.
The regulations took effect immediately upon publication in the Gazette.
Persad-Bissessar said that a few months ago, at least one person highlighted that a Venezuelan person had a TT ID card with the same number as hers.
She said the changes of the Immigration Regulations will give power to the National Security Minister to regularise and naturalise aliens, that is, non-Commonwealth citizens.
“If you are a Commonwealth citizen there is a certain process to become a resident and/or become a citizen, but if you are an alien such as from Venezuela, you are not included in the law. This is giving power to a politician and a member of the present Government, the power to give these 14,000-20,000 Venezuelans residency, then citizenship.”
In a report in the Newsday on June 9, Venezuelan Ambassador to TT Carlos Perez said he welcomed Government’s registration process for Venezuelans in TT. He said the process will give Venezuelans an opportunity to regularise their status, get an opportunity to work for a year, and be protected by the country’s laws.
Persad-Bissessar said without creating a single new job, Government has now added thousands of Venezuelan migrants to the job market.
She said the competition for the few remaining jobs has now become very difficult.