RYAN HAMILTON-DAVIS AND JULIEN NEAVES
TWO Venezuelans who were among the 12 escapees who slipped out the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) on Wednesday were caught yesterday morning by Northern Division Police officers.
According to police sources they were found in the bushes in Aripo near the IDC. Police sources told Newsday the two men were using the bushes to cover their escape but were unable to figure out where they were going and eventually were collared by cops.
Newsday was told, although police had not yet interviewed the two escapees to find out where the others had gone, they believed the rest of the escapees might be near the IDC as well, and assured it would not be long before they captured the other nine escapees.
Police were alerted to the escape shortly after 5 pm, an estimated two hours after the 12 men – 11 Venezuelans and a Grenadian – escaped the IDC in Aripo.
At the post-Cabinet media conference yesterday National Security Minister Stuart Young said ministers were not allowed to have mobile devices in Cabinet and he did not have an update on the escapees as of yesterday afternoon. He recalled Wednesday night he asked for a report to be provided to him yesterday morning but he had not yet received it.
“In my conversations with the acting Chief Immigration Officer as well as the police authorities we do have an active manhunt out,” Young said. “I did ask our services to put as much resources as we can at this stage. We are going to find these people.”
He recalled he did a tour of the IDC recently and Wednesday night he instructed the acting Chief Immigration Officer and the ministry permanent secretary that immediate steps be taken to make the IDC a more secure environment.
Asked if he was concerned by recent breakouts and prisons and other facilities Young said he was.
“As the Minister of National Security that is one of the conversations that is an ongoing conversation.” He said next Monday he would tour the Eastern Correctional Facility in Santa Rosa which has been prepared to be a second IDC.
“I have signed the paperwork and declared a second IDC and I’m going there on Monday just to make sure that it is what it should be.”
He said thereafter the capacity of the IDC would have been increased by 100 per cent with 150 occupancy at the IDC in Aripo and 150 in Santa Rosa. He explained men and women would be separated and the current IDC in Aripo would be for females and the IDC in Santa Rosa for males.
Asked about children Young said the Child Protection Unit of the Children’s Authority was a part of that conversation.
“We are guided by the laws of TT when it comes to children, how we deal with the children. But I have asked the officers to be as humane as possible and to ensure that we do the right thing.”
Young recalled prior to the Venezuelan registration process he toured the Cedros Police Station and saw a young mother with two babies.
“And I was glad she was not in a cell.”
He said the officers would continue as best as they can as long as the public’s interest and safety isn’t compromised “to ensure they do what needs to be done.” Young stressed the IDCs were not intended to be “indefinite holding bays” but it is a step towards deportation and removal from TT.
He also reported yesterday Cabinet agreed to build a structure for a female juvenile facility to house female minors who breached the law and ordered by the courts to be confined but the facilities are insufficient. He said the facility would cost under $4 million and would utilise prison labour.
This story was originally published with the title "2 escapees caught, 9 on the run" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.
TWO Venezuelans who were among the 11 escapees from the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) yesterday were caught this morning by Northern Division police this morning.
According to police, they were found hiding in bushes in Aripo, near the IDC, but were unable to figure out where they were going, therefore, eventually being caught.
Although police have yet to interview the two escapees on the whereabouts of the others, they believe the other escapees may be near the IDC. The police said they wish to assure the public it would not be long before they capture the other nine escapees.
Police were alerted about the escape shortly after 5 pm, an estimated two hours after the 11 men – ten Venezuelans and a Grenadian – escaped the IDC in Aripo.
More on this as it becomes available.