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Trinidad and Tobago’s borders closed; Venezuelans turned back

St. Lucia News Online

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(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) A “lock-down” of Trinidad and Tobago’s borders is the reason why there is no sign of activity at the Cedros port, says National Security Minister Stuart Young.

However, the minister said the port remains “completely functional” and Immigration, Customs and Coastguard officials are all on duty.

“What you may not be seeing is boats that were accustomed coming into that port,” he said yesterday at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.

He said the Government took a decision to secure this country’s borders.

“Securing our borders out on the maritime means that you secure our borders. That is exactly what is happening, you can’t pick and choose who is coming in, who is not coming in. That’s not a decision. We said we would ‘lock-down’—as the term the lay people use—the borders, we gave certain instructions to our men and women in Trinidad and Tobago coast guard, you can’t have it one way or the other,” he said.

He said one minute people were saying there are “streams” of Venezuelans coming into the country and the next minute there is talk about no boats.

The minister reiterated that a decision was taken and implemented and resources were also pumped to ensure that this country’s maritime borders are properly manned and patrolled.

Young, describing himself as a “pragmatic realist” said it is impossible to lock down every square inch of T&T as it is country surrounded by water.

However he said the authorities are doing all they can to try and reduce the number of illegal persons trying to enter the country.

Cedros councillor Shankar Teelucksingh told the Express by phone yesterday that the decision to “lock down” the borders is affecting all vessels and people—legal and illegal—trying to get into the country.

He said if a decision was taken to lock-down the borders then the Foreign Affairs Ministry should have communicated with Venezuelan authorities and advised them to not send their vessels into Trinidad waters because all boats are being denied entry.

He said in some cases, T&T passengers on these vessels are being allowed to enter the country but everyone else—legal and illegal—are being sent back to Venezuela.

Teelucksingh said it is denying entrance to immigrants who are trying to enter legally to buy foodstuff and return to their country as well as bona fide persons who have their documentation in order.

He said Venezuelans were coming in by the “droves” through illegal means because the coastguard vessels do not always pick up the pirogues and fishing vessels under the radar.

Teelucksingh said vessels are also using other ports such as those in San Fernando, Port of Spain and Chaguaramas.

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4 comments

  1. When it comes to communication for important issues there should be total communication between all persons so that things can be done the best way possible.
    Our problem in Trinidad is that there is too much pointing of finger to other ministers.
    Also we now live in a modern world where we should not be allowing any dislikes, threats to our country or protection to our Boarders to fly under radar otherwise there will be much more spending of money to repair something that could have been [email protected] Please Step Up Your Game. Invest in more security cameras and employ less lazy people and stop making excuses.
    Protect All Boarders.

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  2. If one boarder can be closed so can other boarders in Trinidad.
    Trinidad is not that big of a country where its difficult to put absolutely Boarder protection in place.
    It's time that these ministers stop being lazy and do a better job with boarder protection to save their Country .

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  3. I can't fault him for closing his borders, especially to Venezuelans. TT won't be able to handle the influx of migrants streaming in from refugees. To those who might say that it's cold and heartless he needs to protect his country first and foremost. Second compared to Venezuela TT is tiny, they can only handle so many. Third, Venezuelans wou.d begin to island home and try to sneak up the archipelago sooner or later so closing TT's border to them is actually protecting countries like St. Lucia and Grenada.

    (3)(0)
    • These Boarders belong to all people of that Country for our safety.
      It has a right to be protected by our Government.

      (1)(0)

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