BORDER security and energy relations were the highpoints of top level meetings National Security Minister Stuart Young had with Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and senior members of the government at the Palace of Miraflores in Caracas yesterday.
In social media posts, reports indicated that Young was received by Venezuela’s foreign affairs minister Jorge Arreaza and had discussions with Venezuela’s executive vice president Delsy Rodriguez about strengthening bilateral alliances.
Also participating in the talks were the minister for petroleum, Manuel Quevedo, and the deputy minister for the Caribbean, Raul Licausi.
The meetings served to review the ties of cooperation, solidarity and mutual respect between Venezuela and TT, emphasising energy agreements on hydrocarbons, according to reports out of Caracas.
Young’s round of meetings included one with the minister for internal relations, justice and peace, Nestor Reverol, on the strengthening of security protocols on the border between Venezuela and TT.
Videos of Young in causal chats with some of the Venezuelan ministers have been posted on the Ministry of National Security’s twitter feed.
The minister’s visit to Caracas follows the Prime Minister’s defence this week of how Government has handled the influx of migrants in the wake of a BBC report on the registration exercise in June.
This led the Prime Minister to make a complaint to the UK authorities prompting High Commissioner Tim Stew to defend the BBC and freedom of the press. In June, 16,523 Venezuelans were registered giving them an opportunity to work for one year. Last Friday, Finance Minister Colm Imbert, as acting PM, disclosed 5,148 applicants had been verified by Venezuelan and TT authorities and Interpol, and some 3,091 migrant registration cards had been processed.
Young’s round of talks signal Government’s firm stance of maintaining relations with the Maduro regime, even as the south American country continues to buckle under a stalled economy.
Key to the relations is a hydrocarbon agreement for exploration of the Dragon gas field in the waters between the two countries.
In August 2018, Rowley and Maduro signed a term-sheet agreement also at the Palace of Miraflores in Caracas.
Multinational Shell TT is one of three key commercial partners in the agreement with the National Gas Company (NGC) and Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA.
The question of tightening the border stems from a continuous flow of migrants to Trinidad’s southern peninsula, some of them entering illegal and dangerously on pirogues.
Government has since imposed visa requirements for Venezuelans.