Centre for Justice chairman Harvey Borris is lending his support to the Minister of National Security, Stuart Young for his proposal of a one-year amnesty for Venezuelan refugees who are currently residing in T&T.
However, he believes this opportunity should also be extended to other Caricom nationals facing a similar situation.
In a telephone interview with Guardian Media, Borris said that this country owes it to these Caricom nationals who are living illegally in T&T and struggling for work.
“Caricom are our biggest trading partners in terms of manufactured goods. You go to any Caricom island and there you’d see our goods on their shelves…being sold there and being loved there. We have a responsibility to our Caricom brothers and sisters,” he said.
There are many people from Caricom nations currently residing illegally in T&T struggling to find work to support themselves and their families. Borris suggested that they be given a short time frame, close to a month, where they can go to be registered and regularised in T&T.
Borris lauds the minister for the initiative.
Last week, he sent a letter to the minister stating, “It is of our qualified view that we owe the same level of respect and consideration for Caricom nationals.” He also reminded Young that T&T is a signatory to the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the Treaty of Chaguaramas, which was agreed to by all member states on July 4, 1973.
Young recently announced a proposed amnesty period to allow Venezuelans here to register. Once they do so, the Venezuelans will be allowed to work here for a year legally.
It is estimated there are over 60,000 Venezuelans settled in T&T after fleeing their country which is in political turmoil. Since 2014, more than 1.8 million people have fled Venezuela because of difficult living conditions.