Trinidad Guardian:– A loud round of applause and cheers of praises and gratitude erupted from the basketball court at the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Aripo yesterday when National Security Minister Stuart Young shared a ray of hope to the Venezuelan detainees telling them that they may soon be freed and allowed to work in T&T for one year soon.
Young, who toured the facility for more than one hour, disclosed to the Guardian Media that he will be taking a policy to Cabinet this week on the proposed Venezuelan amnesty.
“Once Cabinet takes a decision then we register all Venezuelan Nationals including those who are at the IDC who overstayed or entered illegally…we will have discretion and we’ll have them registered but if they have committed any crime or criminal acts then we are not going to release them, “ Young said.
“Once cabinet passes the policy then we will register you and you will be allowed to work legally in this country for a year so you will be free to come out and earn a living etc, “ he added.
The policy position for illegal and legal Venezuelans in Trinidad and Tobago to be allowed an amnesty where they will be given ID cards and allowed to work in the country for one year was first announced in March by Young during a post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.
Young said then that his recommendation would be that the registration of Venezuelans take place over a two-week period and the logistics would be worked out.
He had urged Venezuelans to come forward when the registration begins, as he assured no one would be detained and they had nothing to fear.
Ironically, Young’s visit to the facility came just mere hours after another escape where this time five detainees managed to escape and up to press time were still missing. They were identified as four Venezuelan nationals and one Chinese.
After the your of the IDC at about 4 pm Young expressed satisfaction.
“ I am just here to get down onto the ground and understand exactly what our facilities are. I have toured all the prisons except Carrera Island. I have toured a number of police stations, army bases and Coast Guard Etc. After touring the IDC I will then tour the Eastern Correctional Facility. I understand that the IDC is full to capacity and I’m wanting to find more room at the Eastern Correctional Facility. These tours will enable me to get a better understanding as to what is going on and how to better them… more importantly,“ Young said.
Just before Young emerged from the IDC a Venezuelan National cried to the Guardian Media stating much frustration with him being detained at the facility for “just being in the country illegally and wanting to work and better his life.”
The Venezuelan national said it is unfair to him as he has three children to take care of, all of whom he said are Trinidadians.
“We want Freedom!” the Venezuelan national shouted.