The Venezuelan refugees had spent days on the water, before being brought back to Trinidad, after their deportation on Sunday 22 November 2020, before their court case could be heard. (Image: IVAN TOOLSIE)

After three days on the rough seas, 16 Venezuelan children, the youngest a four-month-old baby and the eldest child 14 years, along with 11 adults, mostly women, returned to the shores of Trinidad.

Hungry and trembling from the cold, they arrived shortly before 1 pm in two pirogues at the Los Iros beach in Erin. 

They were deported on Sunday, after being detained at a police station for five days, just hours before the start of court proceedings regarding their status.  Justice Avason Quilans-Williams subsequently ordered the state to return the migrants to the country.  

Daniel, a Venezuelan national who is legally registered in Trinidad and who came to greet his cousins, said they had engine problems out at sea and never arrived in Venezuela.  He told Guardian Media he was happy that they were back here.

Fyzabad resident Torrence Farrier was at the beach when he saw the boats coming in.

“We just notice that this boat was coming in with these people and what really hurt me is the fact that there is a three-month-old child on the boat, and they had to pick up that child to bring that child here,” he told Guardian Media.

Torrence Farrier said he felt sad about how the migrants were treated by the local authorities.

“They were cold and hungry… It hurt me. That’s why I say ‘Mom, what it have to eat?’ and I take the food and give them.”  He gave them a meal of chicken, rice, and peas.

The migrants were taken away in a police bus.

[This story will be updated as more information comes to hand.]