Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley says while the twin island republic is attempting to help persons fleeing the crisis in Venezuela, the country will not be unable to cope with a large scale migration.
Rowley, speaking at a post Cabinet media conference on Thursday said Trinidad and Tobago cannot be the solution for the millions of Venezuelans fleeing their homeland.
He stressed that his first priority is the welfare of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
“International agencies, many of them with different agendas to our interest in Trinidad and Tobago, will not encourage us into converting Trinidad and Tobago, this little island nation in the mouth of the Orinoco, into any refugee camp for the larger Venezuelan public.”
“To protect the interest of the people of Trinidad and Tobago we will have to limit our exposure to the fallout in Venezuela,” adding that one way of doing so is to continue the 90-day limit allowed for Venezuelans coming into the country.
Rowley also warned that Trinidad and Tobago might have to ensure that the migration of Venezuelans comes to an end.
“There comes a time when the volume and the presence of these economic migrants in Trinidad and Tobago will threaten the quality of life of the people of Trinidad and Tobago and it falls to us to protect ourselves from that.”
Concerning security, the Prime Minister said his administration is not naive to the fact that criminal elements are also attempting to exploit the generosity the country.
He told reporters that major concerns related to this will be address at a meeting of the National Security Council on Friday.
The Prime mInister said that the process to register Venezuelans will begin and May 31 and this will help the authorities to know how many are in the country.
“If you engage in criminal conduct of any kind, we will deport you because you are our guests,” he said.
In recent months several Venezuelans have fled to Trinidad and Tobago to escape the situation in their homeland.
On Wednesday, there was another influx of Venezuelans who were found in bushes to the south of here.
The 93 Venezuelans who were detained by the police, were eventually granted permission to stay in the twin island republic until the end of July.
However, Ministry of National Security, who also attended the post cabinet press briefing said the government did not play a role in the decision to grant supervision orders to Venezuelan nationals found on Wednesday.
He said the decision was made by immigration officers who allowed the Venezuelans to go free on supervision orders, until the end of July..
“I can’t say what was the decision taken by the Immigration officers,” Young said, adding, “I can tell you that the government did not participate in that decision.”
Young said the might have had to do with the space available for holding Venezuelan migrants.