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Friday 13 December 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Crime and the Venezuela influx

THE EDITOR: T&T’s mur­der rate is “close to 500” and is at risk of “run­ning away” Gov­ern­ment has lament­ed. The state­ments were made re­spec­tive­ly by At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al-Rawi and Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young in the Sen­ate on Tuesday when both at­tempt­ed to use the mur­der rate to lob­by sup­port for the Bail Amend­ment bill which was be­ing de­bat­ed.

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith also recently stated that Venezuelan migrants have contributed a fair amount to the homicide toll in Trinidad and Tobago.

Many Venezuelans enter Trinidad legally as tourists, then overstay their permits. Those who lack passports pay unscrupulous people to take them ashore under cover of night. Trinidadian officials estimate as many as 60,000 Venezuelans have recently settled in Trinidad though this figure could be much greater.

That might not sound like a lot of people, but Trinidad is small. We are comprised of just 1.3 million people. Proportionate to its population, Trinidad has received more Venezuelans than almost any other country.

The PNM government claims to be neutral in Venezuela's affairs, but a recent visit proves once again that they are in "bed" with Maduro. Young who is also a minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, met with Venezue­lan Pres­i­dent Nico­las Maduro in Cara­cas a couple months ago for dis­cus­sion on mat­ters of en­er­gy and na­tion­al se­cu­ri­ty.

Trinidad and To­ba­go has shockingly con­tin­ued to recog­nise Maduro as Venezuela’s pres­i­dent, de­spite many coun­tries, in­clud­ing the Unit­ed States, recog­nis­ing the head of the Na­tion­al As­sem­bly, Juan Guaidó in­stead, and rightly so.

It is not wise or in our country's best interest to have dealings with Maduro, especially when it is clear for the whole world to see that the dictatorship has failed its people. For many, many years Venezuela’s socialist regime has seemed on the verge of total failure and collapse. It has so badly mismanaged the economy that GDP has dropped by nearly half since the year 2013.

There are multiple reports linking the Venezuelan people with the horrifying experience of shortages of food, medicine, running water and electricity. This has prompted some three million Venezuelans, a tenth of the population, to flee that country. Yet President Maduro, has clung on by flouting the constitution, repressing the opposition and using the country’s dwindling income from oil, almost its only export, to pay off the armed forces that support him.

The PNM government is in "bed" with Maduro and this may lead to this government's downfall because Venezuelan migrants are now contributing to the murder toll.

SIMON WRIGHT

Chaguanas

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