PM: No Venezuelan refugee camp here

Trinidad and To­ba­go will not open a refugee camp for Venezue­lans, Prime Min­is­ter Dr. Kei­th Row­ley said dur­ing the Peo­ple Na­tion­al Move­ment’s pub­lic meet­ing on Sat­ur­day evening.

“We have some Venezue­lans in Trinidad and To­ba­go, we em­brace them as eco­nom­ic mi­grants,” said Row­ley at the Five Rivers Sec­ondary school.

The Prime Min­is­ter added: “I have been ap­proached by ex­ter­nal forces, ex­ter­nal agen­cies to open refugee camps in Trinidad for Venezue­lans. I have flat­ly re­fused. For two rea­sons ladies and gen­tle­men. Those are doors once you open them they are very dif­fi­cult to close.”

He point­ed to refugee camps which had been opened in coun­tries in the mid­dle east which had seen per­sons spend en­tire life­times in those camps.

He said while those camps had es­tab­lished to be a tem­po­rary sanc­tu­ary for refugees, there ap­peared no end to refugee sit­u­a­tion. The Prime Min­is­ter al­so raised the ques­tion of T&T’s abil­i­ty to ac­com­mo­date the Venezue­lan refugees should such a camp open in the coun­try.

He said, “We a coun­try of 1.3 mil­lion and a lit­tle piece of land here. Venezuela has a quar­ter of con­ti­nent and 33 mil­lion peo­ple we gonna open refugee camps in Trinidad and To­ba­go what is our po­si­tion? And we must apol­o­gise for say­ing no to that?” asked the Prime Min­is­ter.

He once again de­fend­ed the coun­try’s no in­ter­fer­ence stance and said de­spite com­ments from some about its im­pact on T&T’s re­la­tion­ship with the Unit­ed States, there was no strained re­la­tion­ship there.

“We have no war with the Unit­ed States. We have no fight with the Unit­ed States. We have very good re­la­tions with the Unit­ed States that is why we could say to them that your ap­proach to the Venezue­lan sit­u­a­tion we don’t agree with be­cause if you go down that road it could be­come dis­as­trous and Trinidad and To­ba­go would be in a worse po­si­tion,” said the Prime Min­is­ter, who al­so not­ed that the Gov­ern­ment would con­tin­ue to act in the in­ter­est of the coun­try.

 - by Peter Christopher

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