Venezuelan migrants plead for work. (Image: KRISTIAN DE SILVA)
RADHICA DE SILVA
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Unable to find work during the COVID-19 lockdown, four Venezuelan migrants stood at Palmiste Park on Thursday, pleading for work.

With their weedwhackers in tow, the migrants held up a sign which read:

“Need to Work Urgent! 297-5928.”

As the Brazilian COVID-19 variant spreads across T&T, many Venezuelan migrants have been out of work.

Distrustful of the close-knit Venezuelan community, some Trinidad employers who previously hired migrants, have now become fearful to do so because of the virus.

Speaking to Guardian Media via Google Translate, one of the migrants named Reynaldo said they were now unable to provide for their families.

“The situation for us is very difficult. We have to pay rent and buy food, but we do not have work due to quarantine. We try to find work by walking from house to house, asking people to cut the grass,” he said.

He added, “We have children and that is why it is necessary to go out and look for work.”

He said they were good, honest and hardworking people who had fallen on hard times.

“Thank you, we like to work, we are only looking for work, but the quarantine has made things difficult,” he said.

Contacted for comment, spokesperson for the Venezuelan Migrant Support Group, Angie Ramnarine, said many Venezuelan migrants were facing destitution.

She said Venezuelans were now going house to house, begging for food.

“We had a Venezuelan family—mother, father and three children—begging for food and money to pay rent,” she said.

She said since the lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister, hundreds of Venezuelans immediately lost their jobs.

“It is a crisis. I have been bombarded with calls daily, but our resources are running low. It is a grim situation and I have no doubt that many locals are similarly affected,” she said.

She noted that many donors also have suffered job losses and could no longer contribute as they did before.

Anyone wanting to assist Reynaldo with work, food or monies to pay rent can contact him at 297-5928.

Those wanting to make contributions to the La Romaine Migrant Support Group can contact Angie Ramnarine at 687-8072.