TRINIDAD: Crackdown on illegal migrants from Venezuela: COVID-19 threat

PORT OF SPAIN (CMC) – The Trinidad and Tobago government has said it would crack down on legal Venezuelan migrants engaged in illegally allowing their relatives and friends from the South American country to enter the island as health authorities confirmed an increase in the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases here.

National Security Ministry Stuart Young, speaking at the Ministry of Health virtual news conference, said the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG) and other national security agencies will be searching for and detaining anyone involved in human trafficking or anyone harbouring illegal immigrants.          

Young said that landlords who rent their premises to migrants must enquire as to whether they have the requisite documentation to be here.

“The police are going to be launching operations. We have picked up a number of Trinidadians…bringing across illegal immigrants and they are going to be charged. The police shall be charging them,” Young said, adding that Venezuelans who are here legally will have their documentation revoked if they are caught harbouring or helping illegal immigrants.

“Any (legal) Venezuelan migrant found assisting in harbouring or bringing illegal immigrants into the country, your ability to be here will be revoked and you will be deported. Those who want to transact this business, you’re breaking the law and we will be taking action.’

“All of those persons including landlords who want to capitalise and profit from illegal immigrants, they are putting us at risk from the spread of COVID-19,”  he said, warning that anyone caught knowingly harbouring illegal immigrants will be detained and charged and condemned Trinidadians who were assisting in trafficking or harbouring them.

“The truth is locals are involved in the scheme of human trafficking. When you are in a community and you know (who it is) call us at 555, give the information because those locals are putting the rest of the population at risk.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram told reporters that the latest five cases were primary contacts of one person who had tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of known cases to 147. (CMC)

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