Following reports that Venezuelans were living in squalor on the Icacos beach, corporate secretary of Fishermen and Friends of the Sea, Gary Aboud is renewing his call to close the border.
Aboud said the Venezuelan crisis in Trinidad may get worse if the border wass not closed and if more was not done to alleviate a humanitarian crisis.
“What FFOS had feared has come to pass. Many times FFOS called on Minister Stuart Young to close our borders and regulate the number of refugees entering. Let’s face it, our collapsing economy has limited resources and our Government has not established any social programmes to assist these refugees. The result is that they are living in squalor,” he said.
Aboud added, “It is our duty as human beings to assist the Venezuelan refugees who are already here but can our National Security Minister Stuart Young please advise us when the free flow of unregulated refugees will be stopped?”
He said after the “much-touted amnesty, T&T’s maritime borders are still wide open. We regularly receive new reports of boatloads arriving under the cover of night.”
Saying Government has failed to implement workable measures to alleviate this humanitarian crisis, Aboud said, “Not only are starving mothers and children coming in but every type of criminal and contraband, including weapons and substances, continue to flow freely into our threatened islands.”
He noted that the Government continued to fail to protect national borders.
“Unless there are less talk and more action, every citizen will be forced to pay a price for the Government’s failure,” he said.
Over the weekend, Icacos residents said several Venezuelan families including children were living in a shack near Icacos Beach. They were being given food and clothing from residents.
Earlier this year, there were also reports of Venezuelans living in the forests and feeding off fruits. Several families have been adopted by Trinidad families but Icacos residents say if the borders remain open, local residents will be unable to cope with the influx of Venezuelans coming into T&T.