LAUREL V WILLIAMS
MOMENTS after they arrived at Los Iros beach in Erin on Tuesday afternoon, a group of people including women and children, all believed to the Venezuelans were detained by South Western Division police. The group which arrived on Tuesday at 1 pm contained 16 children and 11 adults.
This group is believed to be among 16 children and nine adults who were deported on Sunday even as an attorney was trying to get a court order staying the deportation.
As soon as they arrived on Tuesday, the Venezuelans told Newsday they had not slept since Sunday when they left in two pirogues from the port at Cedros off the Gulf of Paria. The youngest arrival on Tuesday was four-month-old Keysha Gobin.
Keysha’s petite mother Keren Gobin, 17, said, “It rained last night. We hovered over the children and tried to shield them with our bodies. We did not have plenty of food with us. Last night, mosquitoes bit all of us. The children were crying and we could not do much to help. The waves were rough. We could have drowned. Water entered the boat.”
Although they left in two boats, one had mechanical problems while in the Orinoco River. Two of the men on board tied them together so that the working vessel could tow the other. They said the rope kept bursting while still in TT waters, so the faulty vessel’s occupants moved to the other.
They said that on Sunday evening they were told about the court ruling on their deportation and decided to turn back towards Trinidad. The second faulty vessel with limited fuel, continued on to Venezuela.
A relative of one of the deported people later explained that the boats reached near an indigenous community known as Mariusa on the north coast of Delta Amacuro, where the deportees spoke by phone to relatives in Trinidad.
“Some of the children had fevers. Look at me, I am trembling. We came looking for betterment. I am a mother of four. I came with my son Jesus (Rodriguez) 13. My husband is in TT,” said Luisa Martinez, 38. She is from Anzoátegui.
Another passenger, Ohanis Vergas, 30, of Tucupita said: “The captain dropped us off here and left. We are happy that a judge decided she wanted us to meet with her about the deportation.”
She was referring to Justice Avason Quinlan-Williams’ ruling on a writ of habeas corpus on Sunday requiring the Chief of Defence Staff to bring the women and children to court.
“Most people were vomiting. We survived on the few snacks we had. We barely had anything to eat. We thank God we were able to get there,” Vergas said as rain began to fall at the beach. Police later transported the 27 people by bus to the Siparia District Health Facility for treatment.
Attorneys for the deported group were expected to file an emergency application in the court on Tuesday evening in an attempt to prevent the authorities from deporting them once again.
On Tuesday, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR) said it was concerned about the return of the Venezuelans on Sunday. The human rights body issued a statement on its Twitter account, expressing concern and calling on Government to “guarantee entry to the Venezuelan people who are seeking international protection for urgent humanitarian reasons, as well as respecting the principle of no return.”
Attorney for the group Nafeesa Mohammed has repeatedly pleaded for the re-unification of the children with their parents, some of whom are registered while others were others were UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) card-holders.
by JADA LOUTOO