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Dillon: Cedros fishermen to return from V/zuela today

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
National Security Minister Edmund Dillon

The three T&T fishermen who were recently released by Venezuelan authorities will return home today, according to a Venezuelan-based relative who has promised to bring them to T&T.

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon gave the information yesterday in the Senate responding to queries from UNC Senator Wade Mark who asked why the Venezuelan Guardia Nacional hadn’t returned the men to T&T yet.

The men— Nicholas Hajarie, his father Awardath Hajari and Shammi Seepersad were detained by Venezuelan authorities on April 5 on suspicion of illegally entering Venezuelan waters. A Venezuelan court released them last week without punishment.

Dillon said once released they were free to travel on their own volition, However, they didn’t return home last Sunday as was expected.

Dillon said the men had been staying at the house of Mykell Sankar, the Venezuelan-based brother-in-law of one of the men. Arrangements were made with Sankar to bring them to Soldado Rock last Sunday and the T&T Coast Guard would have met them there.

But just as the Coast Guard was in position to meet the T&T men, the trip was cancelled by Sankar on behalf of the men, Dillon said.

He added that he wasn’t aware why Sankar had cancelled. But he said it was at that point last Sunday, Sankar had indicated he’d return the nationals to T&T today (Wednesday).

Dillon said the T&T Embassy in Venezuela also continued to liaise with the Venezuelan authorities and “to that end, we made arrangements on Monday to get the men certificates needed in order to leave Venezuela.”

Dillon said the office where the certificates were issued remained open almost an hour past normal time on Monday, but the T&T nationals didn’t show up to get the certificates.

Still, he said, the T&T Embassy continued to liaise with Sankar to get the T&T nationals to the office to get their certificates.

Since Sankar promised to return the men by today, Dillon said the T&T Coast Guard is “standing by to assist where and when necessary.”

Dillon emphasised that since the men’s April 11 release by the Venezuelan courts “They’ve been free to roam Tucupita , in fact they’re staying with relatives in Tucupita. They’re free to come (home) whenever they want and they’ve determined they’ll return with Mr Sankar on Wednesday April 18 and the T&T Coast Guard remains committed to ensure their safe passage, once they’re committed to (today’s) date.”


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