Political analyst Prof John La Guerre is warning Government to brace for an influx of Venezuelans seeking political asylum in T&T as the crisis in that country unfolds.
La Guerre was speaking with Guardian Media, as he weighed in on Venezuela's mounting turmoil, following Wednesday's protest action by thousands against President Nicolas Maduro.
Between Wednesday and Thursday, Venezuela reported 12 deaths and scores injured as the crisis escalated.
On Wednesday, National Security Minister Stuart Young said T&T's Government would not get involved in Venezuela's affairs.
La Guerre said Trinidad has to be cautious of how we react or comment to Venezuela's ongoing situation.
"I am advising the Government to tread carefully on Venezuela's crisis because it could affect our economic fortunes through the gas deal."
He also advised that we secure our sea borders, as more Venezuelans would be tempted to come here illegally, given the tense political climate.
"Some people would be legitimately seeking political asylum in T&T. Therefore, we have to be wary of how we treat with such requests. Their claims for asylum will be strengthened, given the situation. The fact that other countries are backing the USA makes the case of those seeking asylum even stronger."
T&T has signed onto a 1951 Refugee Convention that agreed to interim standard operating procedures for treating with asylum seekers and refugees in T&T.
"We would have to honour them. But that does not mean you would take any and every asylum case as legitimate. Certain criterion must be met," La Guerre said.
The fact that Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dennis Moses attended Maduro's inauguration on January 10, La Guerre said: "suggests that we would deal with asylum cases fairly and squarely."
Oropouche East MP, Roodal Moonilal said there was clearly a showdown between Maduro and Trump.
"This is further egg on the face of Prime Minister Rowley and Stuart Young since they played footsy with Maduro, given the country's political instability which the Opposition had warned them about."
Moonilal said with the crisis intensifying, the Dragon Field gas deal between T&T and Venezuela may be in jeopardy, as the US moves to impose potential oil sanctions on Maduro's country.
While the UNC stands in support of Venezuelans who are calling for democracy, Moonilal felt there was a need for political and diplomatic intervention.
Reporter: Shaliza Hasanali