UNC Senator Anil Roberts during the debate.

Gail Alexander

Venezuelan fishermen who aren’t allowed to disembark from their vessels – and who aren’t subject to COVID tests – have been disembarking, including going shopping at Massy Stores.

After UNC senator Anil Roberts disclosed this in the Senate Tuesday, National Security Minister Stuart Young said he’d ask the police service, Customs and Immigration to look into the matter.

Young was responding to Roberts’ queries on fishermen entering T&T over March to August.

Roberts who said he was a fisherman also and said he’d seen them disembarking, moving around and even going shopping at Massy – and Roberts said he’s also seen videos of them.

Young said Venezuelan fishermen are allowed to enter T&T despite its closed borders since their vessels qualified as cargo vessels. But he said they aren’t allowed to leave their vessels – and because of that they weren’t subject to COVID testing.

He said if they are disembarking as they shouldn’t be doing, he’d ask the authorities to look at the matter. Young said it was ironic Roberts was talking about videos.

After another query from Roberts to Finance Minister Colm Imbert, the latter said he’d consider Roberts’ request for face masks which were still in hand, to be sent to the T&T Police Service.

Imbert said a total of 436,400 masks were obtained at the cost of $4.364 million and 359,000 were passed to non-governmental organisations and regional corporations to be distributed free to citizens.

Imbert said that left 77,400 masks in storage still.

Roberts asked if any masks were sent to the police and if this could be done.

Imbert said the bulk of masks – 133,756 – were sent to the Foundation for the Enhancement and Enrichment of Life (FEEL) for distribution to customers, clients and others. He said each of the 14 regional corporations – and the Tobago House of Assembly received 15,000 masks.

Imbert added that he’d consider the request to send “some” of the 77,400 masks to the police service. Roberts said it was necessary especially since police had to deal with “zesser” weddings and parties.

Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis said the Public Utilities Ministry, through SWMCOL has spearheaded the Public Sector Recycling Programme since 2018 towards a recycling culture throughout all Ministries, and State Entities. This is to recover recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard and beverage containers. She also said 635,000 LED lightbulbs have been distributed to 159,000 consumers in the LED programme.