Government meets with UN representatives following repatriation debacle

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 14:00

Minister of National Security, Edmund Dillon and Attorney General, Faris Al Rawi, today held a meeting with the United Nations Resident Coordinator Richard Blewitt and Protection Officer of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ruben Barbado, in light of the recent repatriation of Venezuelan citizens.

A statement by the ministry says the purpose of the meeting was to correct the misinformation in the public domain, with respect to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s handling of the voluntary repatriation of the 82 Venezuelan nationals to their homeland on Saturday.

The meeting was held at the Ministry of National Security, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain at 10:30 am, and was also attended by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Security, Vel Lewis and Chief Immigration Officer, Immigration Division, Charmaine Gandhi Andrews.

At the meeting Minister Dillon and the Attorney General took the opportunity to once again emphasize the fact that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago respects the human rights of any person who seeks asylum in Trinidad and Tobago.

The statement says that the government respects the right of any foreign national to voluntarily return to their country of nationality.

"It was reiterated, that the repatriation exercise was strictly carried out on a voluntary basis, in collaboration with the Ambassador of Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago, Her Excellency Coromoto Godoy Calderón. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago also expressed its commitment to treating all persons humanely and fairly and to upholding its international obligations," the statement said.

It added that at the end of the meeting, both parties agreed to continue the ethos of collaboration and cooperation.