Trinidad and Tobago will not open a refugee camp for Venezuelans, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said during the People National Movement’s public meeting on Saturday evening.
“We have some Venezuelans in Trinidad and Tobago, we embrace them as economic migrants,” said Rowley at the Five Rivers Secondary school.
The Prime Minister added: “I have been approached by external forces, external agencies to open refugee camps in Trinidad for Venezuelans. I have flatly refused. For two reasons ladies and gentlemen. Those are doors once you open them they are very difficult to close.”
He pointed to refugee camps which had been opened in countries in the middle east which had seen persons spend entire lifetimes in those camps.
He said while those camps had established to be a temporary sanctuary for refugees, there appeared no end to refugee situation. The Prime Minister also raised the question of T&T’s ability to accommodate the Venezuelan refugees should such a camp open in the country.
He said, “We a country of 1.3 million and a little piece of land here. Venezuela has a quarter of continent and 33 million people we gonna open refugee camps in Trinidad and Tobago what is our position? And we must apologise for saying no to that?” asked the Prime Minister.
He once again defended the country’s no interference stance and said despite comments from some about its impact on T&T’s relationship with the United States, there was no strained relationship there.
“We have no war with the United States. We have no fight with the United States. We have very good relations with the United States that is why we could say to them that your approach to the Venezuelan situation we don’t agree with because if you go down that road it could become disastrous and Trinidad and Tobago would be in a worse position,” said the Prime Minister, who also noted that the Government would continue to act in the interest of the country.