Venezuelan migrants detained in Los Iros
By Prior Beharry
A four-month-old baby is among 27 Venezuelans escorted out of Trinidad and Tobago waters on Sunday but returned on Tuesday.
Police picked them up at Los Iros Beach and carried them to the Siparia Health Centre where they will be medically examined and tested for Covid-19.
Investigators were unsure about what would happen to them next.
They were part of a group of 29 who were repatriated on Sunday after illegally entering T&T.
The illegal migrants had initially entered T&T last Wednesday and were held at various police stations before they were sent back.
Attorney Nafeesa Mohammed had filed a writ of habeas corpus, but on Monday Justice Avason Quinlan-Williams dismissed the case after it was learnt that the migrants were no longer within the T&T jurisdiction.
Senior Counsel Reginal Armour, who led several government agencies in the case, said the group could not have been returned since they were in La Barra Island located in the territorial waters of Venezuela.
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But on return on Tuesday, the Venezuelans told police that there was a court order for them to return to Trinidad, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service said in a release.
The release stated that between 1.30 pm and 2.15 pm on Tuesday, police received information that a number of Venezuelans were seen coming off a boat at Los Iros Beach.
Officers of the South Western Division Task Force and the Santa Flora Police Station responded and met 11 adults and 16 children between the ages of four months to 17 years at the scene, the release stated.
The officers also met a number of media personnel already at the location.
At a press conference that started at 2pm on Tuesday, National Security Minister Stuart Young said that the borders of Trinidad and Tobago were closed since March 22.
He reminded the population that 16,523 Venezuelan migrants were registered to live and work in Trinidad since May 2019.
Young said the Government had held discussions with the United National Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) in early 2019 when there was an increase in Venezuelan migrants in T&T.
He said the registration valid for initially a year has been extended to December 31, 2020 and Cabinet will take a further decision on that matter.
Young emphasised that an UNCHR registration does not give someone immigration (landed) status in T&T. “It is not a get out of jail card,” he said.
He said there were people in T&T engaged in human trafficking.
Young said people in law enforcement were involved in human trafficking.
He asked, “How it is that persons are coming in, you don’t know they are coming in, arrive here illegally, come off a boat, picked up, taken straight into custody.
“Who is it that gets their names? Who is it suddenly know all the people on that boat? Knows their passport numbers allegedly. Knows their ages, who they related to.
“And all of a sudden an attorney arrives with that information.
“Think about it. They are entering illegally. No visa, so they not in our system. No permission. No authority. No approval by national security to enter.
“They land, they are picked up on a beach, they are taken into custody.
“All of a sudden a few hours later someone turns up with a list of all of the names and of course no identification sometimes on the people so they can say that I am Stuart Young…”
He asked if it was a possibility that the people who have prepared the list and the narrative were involved in human trafficking.
Young said there were serious questions to ask about how were lawyers getting instructions in such circumstances and who were providing the detailed information on people in state custody and do not speak English.
He said Venezuelans entering T&T needed a visa and then required permission from him to enter just like any national of T&T.
He said under the Immigration Act any illegal immigrant who entered T&T was “an undesirable” and was subject to detention and deportation.
Ver la historia en Español abajo:
Bebé de 4 Meses Entre Venezolanas que Regresan a Los Iros
Un bebé de cuatro meses se encuentra entre los 27 venezolanos que fueron escoltados fuera de las aguas de Trinidad y Tobago el domingo pero regresaron este martes.
Translated by Yn Rampersad for AZPNews.com