A teacher, a student and a trainee policeman were among 22 Venezuelans who fled their crisis-stricken homeland to Trinidad in search of work, food and a better life.
On Monday, they all appeared in the San Fernando Magistrates Court charged with illegally entering the country. The 20 men and two women pleaded guilty.
Having lost their jobs, unable to find work or food and penniless, they came to Trinidad leaving behind their children and spouses in Venezuela.
Some of them said they were working on an agricultural farm in Erin. They appeared before First Court Senior Magistrate Jo-Anne Connor who read the charge that on an unknown date they entered the country in a place not designated as a port of entry and failed to report to an immigration officer.
They arrived in the county about two weeks ago. Their ages ranged from 18 to 45 years old and they were charged by Cpl Richardson of the Immigration Division.
The 18-year-old, the police trainee, and one of the women, age 45, were reprimanded and discharged. The others were each fined $3,000. They were given three months to pay the money or serve six months in jail.
Reporter: Sascha Wilson