By Sue-Ann Wayow
TRINIDAD and Tobago will be working with the Venezuelan government to better protect the borders of this country from illegal Venezuelan immigrants.
This is according to Minister of National Security Stuart Young who said he held a meeting with week with Venezuelan authorities to discuss the ongoing issue.
Young speaking at a press conference on Saturday said the Trinidad and Tobago government was doing all in its power to deal with illegal immigration which many has blamed for the upsurge in Covid-19 cases locally.
However both Young and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley repeated that the speculation was not supported by facts.
Young said, “Last week, I had a virtual meeting with the authorities in Venezuela for us to ask the Venezuelan authorities to work along with us to ensure border security and border patrols on both sides of the border and to say that we require their assistance. We will provide them with intelligence, they can provide us with intelligence and we will do what we need to do.
“We are utilising all our Coast Guard assets, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, immigration service, Defence Force. We are all working together and we are trying to bring that border security up.”
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley added that with the exception of North Korea, no country was entirely immune to illegal immigration.
While he admitted that there was a potential threat of the virus being transmitted as a result of illegal immigration, all Venezuelans should not be labeled as carriers of the illness.
Rowley giving a bit of history of the AIDS virus said it was first labeled a Haitian disease because Haitians they were among the first group of people who tested positive for the disease.
Rowley said, “That caused a lot of pain and pseudoscience until it became known that it was a human condition not confined to any geographical location.”
Should there be any substantiating evidence that the spread of the virus was being done by Venzuelans, Rowley said, “We will not hesitate to tell you if it is that our source of the problem or keeping the corona high is Venezuelans.”
Last month, police pleaded with the public and local fishermen in particular to not take jobs to transport Venezuelans on their vessels to Trinidad and reminded them that those engaged in the act will be arrested and charged.