Member of Parliament for Oropouche East, Dr Roodal Moonilal. (Image courtesy Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago)

The Women’s League of the Peoples National Movement (PNM) has condemned what it describes as the “politicization of fragile and vulnerable children” and “political trafficking” of the Venezuelan migrants issue, by those with a particular agenda.

In an official statement issued today, the Women’s League accuses those behind such actions are attempting to “legitimise illegal entry into this country” and the breach of T&T’s immigration laws.

The group takes particular issue with calls for a special Joint Select Committee of Parliament to examine the recent deportations of 26 Venezuelan migrants, which have been made by Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal (MP for Oropouche East).  It accuses him of capitalising on the issue to further his own political agenda.

The full text of the statement from the PNM Women’s League, follows…

PNM Women’s League Statement on recent developments in the Venezuelan migrants issue

Today as mothers and daughters of this beloved nation of Trinidad and Tobago, it is disheartening and heart-breaking to witness the ugly politics being displayed by certain entities in this country, in the wake of breaches to border security of this sovereign state. It is even more frightening to see the politicization of fragile and vulnerable children, being used by certain politicians both in and outside of this country to breach our immigration laws. The persons responsible for putting those innocent women and children on a boat bound for Trinidad and Tobago should be held accountable for their irresponsible actions.

The Women’s League of the Peoples National Movement unequivocally condemns such heinous and ill-advised actions, by such persons who seek to legitimise illegal entry into this country. Their motives must be questioned; are these minors a part of an even more horrifying plot, are they victims of human trafficking? These questions must be asked.

As law abiding citizens of this beloved country, we must love our country and put the safety of all our citizens first. Charity begins at home and regardless of our race, religion or political persuasion, we must love this island we call home, more than any hidden corrupt political agenda.

One of the reasons a country has laws is to protect the rights of every citizen, and while there is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law at no time should we choose to compromise the health and safety of our country or place our fellow men, women and children at risk. Only persons void of vision and completely driven by a cultic obsession for power will suggest that the government should act in a manner that may be inimical to the lives of their own citizens.

We share the concerns expressed by the Hon Prime Minister regarding the motives of OAS Secretary General Almagro. Where was Almagro when our tiny Country opened our hearts and arms to assist our neighbours? It is a form of politics eerily familiar to us. ‘Political trafficking’ — using human beings as political fodder and pawns — is the remit of the Opposition Leader and her minions.

Therefore, it is no surprise to us that the member for Oropouche East would use the same heartless and soulless approach, by using these vulnerable mothers, children, and babes in arms as weapons of mass distraction. All we hear is an irresponsible politician crying foul play wrongfully accusing this country and our responsible border security forces. The opposition forces are once more attempting to create a false narrative. Attempting to stir bogus national and international dialogue about breaking non-existent refugee agreements. The Opposition’s intention is as usual to try to manipulate hearts and minds with their well-known pretense and lack of patriotism.

The National Women’s League refuses to be entrapped by the wolf cries of a politician disguised as a sheep for human rights, when in fact he is a wolf howling loudly for political gain at any cost, even at the cost of innocent lives that may be victims of human trafficking. Anyone that would use the innocent lives of women, children and babies as political pawns at any level is definitely not serious about addressing the growing international concerns as it pertains to human trafficking as a world epidemic especially whilst we are in the midst of a global pandemic.

Just before our borders closed for the pandemic the Daily Express reported in its March 3rd edition of a former employee of Petrotrin that appeared before the court for offences of child prostitution related to a Venezuelan national. The 32 year old man of San Fernando, was charged with causing a child to become a prostitute, controlling a child prostitute, receiving financial benefit from trafficking a child, transporting a child for prostitution and harbouring a child for the purpose of exploitation. The offence allegedly occurred in March 2019.

Again in a June 5 2019 an article written by the Venezuela Investigative Units reports of the sinking of two boats sailing from Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago unveiled a criminal ring implicating high-level law enforcement officials in trafficking of migrants and children for sexual exploitation. When these boats sank they left more than 50 people missing and only 10 survivors.

In light of these clear and devastating reports of the magnitude of the sex trade rings, it is extremely unfortunate that members of Parliament would be so reckless to make this global crisis a political weapon in an attempt to destroy the fabric of our nation.

Former speaker of the House of representative Nizam Mohammed was correct when he condemned Moonilal’s past foreign affairs statements against this country as disturbing and reckless. Clearly undermining the sovereignty of this country to manage its borders as it pertains to the law of this land.

Regrettably not even the deadly threat of this Covid-19 pandemic has swayed Moonilal to put country first before his diabolical schemes.

The League is forever thankful that God has placed Dr. Keith Rowley at the helm of this country to lead us.

The League states that as mothers, sisters and daughters we too have family and friends that are unable to come home due to the very necessary actions of closed borders. There cannot be one law for our citizens and another for illegal immigrants.

Therefore, how could Moonilal attack and criticize our security forces and authorities for maintaining the law?

The League notes these statements with deep concern. However, we are certain that all right-thinking citizens will stand as a nation guided by God and the Rule of law.