Detained Venezuelans apologise

Detained Venezuelans apologise after putting on a fashion show in  Heliport in Chaguaramas. - Grevic Alvarado
Detained Venezuelans apologise after putting on a fashion show in Heliport in Chaguaramas. - Grevic Alvarado

After putting on a fashion show and posting videos of it on social media, Venezuelan nationals detained at the heliport in Chaguaramas are apologising.

In another video, a spokesman for the group says they meant no harm.

He also said the group of almost 200, who were detained on Saturday at the Apex bar in St James, are asking for conditions at the facility to be improved and for their cases to be expedited. They were detained after they failed to provide proof of legal entry and legal status in TT.

The man said they were aware their earlier actions were wrong.

"We recognise a video broadcast on social media on Monday night which we shared to distract ourselves was not appropriate. Our intention has never been to offend anyone, much less the TT community. We want to apologise. To err is human and rectify is wise," one of the detainees read on behalf of his compatriots.

Speaking to Newsday on Wednesday morning, several relatives of those arrested said at least 160 of the detainees are still at the heliport.

Immigration authorities released 40 after evaluating their cases. So far it is unknown what has happened to the rest.

"The authorities are giving them their three meals a day and water, but they don't allow us to bring them other food on our own," said the mother of one of the detained girls.

She said she could not identify herself for fear of the police.

She said her daughter had told her several detainees have health problems.

"We ask the authorities to expedite their cases, but above all to provide precise and constant information to avoid rumours," she said.

On Saturday night, the police arrested 200 undocumented migrants at the Apex bar.

Since then, various civic organisations which support the migrant community in TT and the Caribbean have requested the release of the detainees.

Last week the High Court issued a ruling that migrants can be deported by TT authorities, even if they are registered with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as refugees or asylum-seekers.

Currently 9,000 Venezuelans are submitting documentation to obtain a fifth extension of the work permits issued to them in 2019 through an amnesty.

The fate of other Venezuelans and other migrants in TT without permission to stay here is in the hands of the authorities.


"Detained Venezuelans apologise"

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