Minister of National Security Stuart Young has defended his ministry’s decision to rent the Queen’s Park Oval to use as one of the venues for the registration of Venezuelans living in this country later this week.
His defence came yesterday after Opposition activist Devant Maharaj questioned how much it would cost to rent the facility and shared a notice the Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC), which manages the venue, posted to its members.
In the notice, QPCC members were advised that parts of the Oval will be used to facilitate the registration exercise, which runs from May 31-June 14 inclusive of weekends. It also advised that there will be a heavy police and army presence at the Oval during the period and that some car parks and entrances will be closed off to accommodate the registration.
Maharaj questioned why the Government had chosen to rent the Oval when the exercise could be done at a state-owned venue like Hasley Crawford Stadium at no cost to taxpayers.
However, in a response, Young said the areas being used must be used exclusively by National Security for the two-week period. He told Guardian Media he had asked his team to look at using the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Jean Pierre Complex and the Grand Stand at the Queen’s Park Savannah, but said none were available exclusively for the two-week period and there was no guarantee all the equipment would have been secured.
Last week, Government announced that three venues will be used for the registration process in Port-of-Spain, San Fernando and Tobago, but stopped short of saying exactly where the venues were. It was previously revealed the entire process would cost the state $5 million.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says Venezuelan amnesty/registration process isn’t enough and T&T will experience a number of social and economic repercussions if it doesn’t address the Venezuelan migration issue in a serious, definite way.
“Our international image has already been damaged,” she noted in a release yesterday.
Persad-Bissessar said Government was now scrambling to find a solution after the situation had reached critical levels.