National Security Minister Stuart Young said he “suspects” the amnesty for Venezuelans registered in Trinidad and Tobago since 2019 will ”roll on” but he said Cabinet has to decide on what will actually take place.
Young gave the hint during yesterday’s Standing Finance Committee deliberations on his ministry’s $1 billion Budget allocation.
He replied to Naparima MP Rodney Charles and others who asked about the future of the amnesty.
In 2019 Government granted a one year amnesty for Venezuelans via a registration process in which 16,523 were allowed to stay in TT. It was extended to December.
Young said he did not know what would happen beyond December, but suspected the programme would continue.
He said at this stage, he could not say how long the “roll-on” would be for.
Contacted by Guardian Media after on the possibility of continuation of the facility and the “roll-on”, Young said,” Cabinet will take a decision with respect to the further extension of the Venezuelan Migrant Registration programme,”
When asked if the Government would reopen registration to allow more Venezuelans beyond those who have registered for legal status here, which is something some groups representing Venezuelans recently lobbied for, Young said, “There is no plan to reopen any registration.”
Meanwhile, Young gave the assurance to Couva North MP Ravi Ratiram that if fishermen in Ratiram’s area wanted Coast Guard oversight when going fishing, they only had to inform the CG and the oversight would be made available.
He also welcomed Ratiram’s suggestion that GPS systems be placed on fishing vessels. He said if they were prepared to have that, discussions would be held.
Ratiram assured Young of the support of his constituents in Carli Bay, Orange Valley and other areas on security thrusts.
On Ratiram’s other queries, Young confirmed a Claxton Bay building owned by Vision on Mission is being used for prisoners who have COVID -19.
He said 250 prison officers – out of the 3,00 plus staff- have been quarantined for COVID.
Young also said short term contracts are being considered for hiring workers at the Immigration Detention Centre since people are unwilling to work there. He said there are currently 12 detainees at the IDC.
Young also said the planned transition from machine-readable to e-electronic passports has been delayed. If it’s not required, it “might” be done next year, he said.
Couva South MP Rudy Indarsingh read out the ID number of a constituent whom he said was unable to collect their passport. Young after checking with ministry officials, told Indarsingh to tell the person to come and collect the passport.
Young confirmed that in line with reducing expenditure for TT, Government has also reduced contribution to regional entities.