PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government says Venezuelan nationals wanting to enter the country will now have to be in possession of a visa.
National Security Minister, Stuart Young, speaking at a news conference on Friday night, soon after the government ended a two-week registration exercise for legal and illegal Venezuelans, said that the new measure would go into force from Monday.
The government said that approximately 15,000 Venezuelan migrants were registered during the two week exercise at three locations across the country and that within the next two weeks, they would be issued their official registration cards, warning also that those who do not have the necessary documents would be deported. “From Monday, morning, we will be implementing visas for Venezuelans to come to Trinidad and Tobago. The visas will be will issued by the Embassy in Cascaras, Venezuela and the only Venezuelans who will be allowed to enter our legal ports of entry will be those with visas,” Young told reporters.
Venezuelans have been fleeing their South American homeland where opposition parties backed by the United States and some of its allies are seeking to remove President Nicolas Maduro from power.
Young dismissed reports that as many as 40,000 Venezuelans, both legal and illegal, may have entered the country since the economic and political situation in Caracas, describing the reports as “false and completely untrue”.
He said the total number of Venezuelans registered; the breakdown of men, women and children and the total cost of the process, will be provided in due course.
Young said the registration process had provided law enforcement with intelligence to deal with those “engaged in illegal activity including human trafficking and prostitution.”
He said that while the Venezuelan migrants would not be guaranteed access to education, they would have access to primary medical care but will have to pay for any other medical procedures.