Free room and board in Tobago

Three days be­fore the end of the reg­is­tra­tion process, hun­dreds of Venezue­lan na­tion­als re­main hope­ful they will get the chance to reg­is­ter in To­ba­go.

Most of them left long lines at the two reg­is­tra­tion cen­tres in Trinidad and trav­elled to To­ba­go with the hope that they can reg­is­ter at the Car­o­line Build­ing, in Scar­bor­ough eas­i­ly.

On Wednes­day morn­ing, many mi­grants re­turned to the To­ba­go cen­tre hav­ing slept at var­i­ous guests hous­es and ho­tels for free.

Many of them had slept on the streets of Scar­bor­ough on Mon­day night af­ter they ar­rived on board the fast fer­ry - T&T Ex­press- at 1 pm on Sun­day.

Af­ter the first wave of mi­grants ar­rived, a sys­tem of in­for­mal reg­is­tra­tion be­gan tak­ing place among them.

Peo­ple were giv­en num­bers as they came, but moth­ers with ba­bies and young chil­dren were sent ahead of oth­ers. Or­gan­i­sa­tions al­so be­gan to help.

Venezue­lan Gabriela Barreo said she and many women and chil­dren were fed and giv­en free lodg­ing “by Mus­lim broth­ers from Trinidad.”

Through a net­work of Mus­lim busi­ness­es, the mi­grants were ac­com­mo­dat­ed.

Mean­while, the Sev­enth Day Ad­ven­tist Church was al­so co­or­di­nat­ing a re­sponse and be­gan of­fer­ing mi­grants three meals per day.

Di­a­mond An­drews, of the Ad­ven­tist Ser­vice and In­dus­tries To­ba­go Chap­ter, said the church has al­ways of­fered ser­vices to those in need.

“We are not about be­ing vis­i­ble for peo­ple to see what we do, we are here to help even if the amnesty is ex­tend­ed to next week.”

An­drews has since reached out to oth­er or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­u­als to strength­en the church’s co­or­di­nat­ing ef­forts.

The church has al­so al­lowed the mi­grants to use the Har­mon SDA Scar­bor­ough School as a base at nights for mi­grants to sleep and take show­ers.

How­ev­er, not all To­bag­o­ni­ans were sym­pa­thet­ic to the cause.

At the end of the work­day on Wednes­day the line in front of the build­ing was still long. The dead­line for the two-week reg­is­tra­tion process ends to­mor­row. Once reg­is­tered the hold­er of the reg­is­tra­tion card can legal­ly work and live in T&T for one year.

 - by Loyse Vincent

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