NATIONAL Security Minister Stuart Young said over 10,000 of the 16,532 Venezuelans who applied to be registered in June, were successful. Young made this disclosure during yesterday’s Standing Finance Committee meeting in the House of Representatives. He also said, “Over 8,000 cards have been prepared for those who have qualified.” Young added. In response to Naparima MP Rodney Charles’ claim of a $1.4 million allocation for migrant registration, Young replied, “This administration has absolutely no intention of a second phase (of registration).”
He added that 300 Venezuelans who did not “cross the hurdle” of being registered are dealt with. Young reiterated that the Immigration Division will ensure that “that anyone who is here illegally, which would include someone who has overstayed their visa, we find them and we deport them.” Tabaquite MP Dr Surujrattan Rambachan asked if Venezuelans in TT were being visited at their job sites to ensure they were properly registered.
Young said this is being looked into. But he added there may be Venezuelans who are being taken advantage of by locals. “I want people who are using those houses of ill repute to be on the front of the newspapers ,meaning the customers.” After that, Young said, “I’m going after the big fish.” Responding to concerns by Rambachan that foreigners masquerading as spiritualists were breaking TT’s laws, Young said Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has promised the matter will be investigated.
Noting that a second immigration detention centre (IDC) was recently opened, Young said he would be happy as a taxpayer if the IDCs were empty. On the issue of machine readable passports (MRP), Young said they have been in existence in TT since 2007 and there have been no significant changes to them since then. He observed there has been a shift in some countries towards epassports that have a security chip with the holders’ biometric data.
Young said he will look into the possibility of upgrading the MRP to this passport. But he added there is no international requirement for TT citizens to have an epassport. He also said Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s announcement of the removal of arrival forms at the country’s airports does not mean that people entering TT will not have to interact with immigration officers. On the issue of kiosks at Piarco International Airport, Young said this was the subject of an investigation and the results of that investigation are being analysed.