National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said on Sunday that evidence available from the Ministry of Health suggests local citizens and not immigrants – whether illegal or not – were primarily responsible for the recent spike in covid19 cases.
During the Ministry of Health's media briefing on April 21, Hinds dismissed claims that illegal migrants were to blame for the increase in cases.
Responding to questions at a media conference on Sunday, Hinds maintained that Trinidad and Tobago's citizens, through their behaviour were to blame for the increase in cases.
"The spread, the experts in the Ministry of Health have told us is as a consequence of community spread on the basis of our interaction disregarding the protocols, disregarding the public health ordinance and its regulations.
"There is where the bulk of the problem comes, people gathering for parties, wakes, limes and just being reckless."
He admitted while illegal entry of migrants could potentially pose a threat for the importation of new strains of the virus, it was not the source of the threat.
Asked if the recent detection of the Brazilian covid19 strain came from an immigrant who entered the country illegally, Hinds said, "I cannot say that it was not. I think from the general information I have, it was from an illegal immigrant. So I therefore cannot say that it was not."
Hinds also reported that based on intelligence, there are 15 beaches that are believed by the authorities to be landing sites for illegal immigrants but he noted that there could be more around the country.
He noted that 16,500 migrants were registered recently and these migrants were in communication with the government for their renewals.