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Immigration specialist: Was there collusion between T&T and Venezuela?

Published: 
Sunday, April 29, 2018

Dr Richard Ramoutar, a national security, terrorism, transnational organized crimes and immigration specialist wants Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to answer whether there was any collusion between the governments of T&T and Venezuela in the repatriation of 82 Venezuelan nationals.

He is also questioning if there was any breech of the Protection under International Refugee Law.

Ramoutar said “Naturally, given the forced migration and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, the collapse of governance, “there has been an influx of Venezuelans to our shores both legally and illegally.

“Amongst these genuine Venezuelans who need protection, are those who have become smuggled migrants, trafficked migrants, economic migrants, and criminals and cartel leaders of the illegal drugs, guns and ammunition trade.

“The dire economic situation and poverty have escalated to alarming and unprecedented levels in that country.”

He said as Rowley sought to have new information on the Darryl Smith case, he should perhaps have had first in his possession a clinical and incisive report of the legal procedures adopted, administrative due process mechanisms followed, and ensuring that those amongst the 82 Venezuelans repatriated who sought refugee protection were granted the full access to the provisions outlined, were in accordance with international refugee law and that the country’s international obligations would have been fulfilled.

Ramoutar said that was the significant issue underpinning all the media frenzy and cross talk.

He said instead of maintaining a composed stature as a statesman and leading politician in the Caribbean, Rowley, fresh from the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government, adopted a bold defiant stance and retaliated with strong disconcerting statements towards members of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

The Prime Minister was reported to have said “This country will not allow the United Nations (UN) or any other international body to convert it into a refugee camp.”

Rowley will also write a letter of complaint to the UN about its local representatives, whom he said had misrepresented the facts pertaining to the deportation of 82 Venezuelan nationals last Saturday.

The UN High Commission on Refugees alleged in media releases last Sunday and Tuesday, that among the group deported were asylum seekers who had registered and received their certificates from the UN and so should not have been allowed to leave without having their circumstances verified by the agency.

‘No immigration policy under Rowley administration’

Ramoutar, a former adviser to government ministries, also asked what about the fact that under Rowley’s administration there had been no immigration policy, and his government was fully cognizant of all that was occurring on our national landscape as a result of the escalation of the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis and the authoritarian government of Nicolas Maduro. Current efforts were being made to have Maduro placed on trial for corruption.

‘IDC needs complete overhaul’

There needed to be a clarification of the types of foreign nationals who have been held in detention at the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) for years.

He said the facility was generally designed as a temporary holding centre for illegal migrants who had violated the nation’s immigration laws, however, the IDC with time had morphed into another centre that needed a complete overhaul, new vision and management expertise in that particular area that conformed to all people detained under international law.

Ramoutar said because of the good police work across the country and the irreversible influx of Venezuelan nationals entering illegally, the problems at IDC will continue.

He said there was a procedure to remove all detained foreign nationals called a special inquiry (SI) process that was at best flawed, and the Government needed to have a critical insight as to what was happening there.

Ramoutar said the process was like “a kangaroo court.”

• Next week, T&T’s
international obligations

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