One year amnesty for Venezuelans nearer?
The National Security Ministry’s proposed register for Venezuelans in T&T will be discussed in Cabinet next week.
At the post-cabinet media briefing, National Security Minister Stuart Young said a note will be taken to Cabinet on the issue then.
Young recently proposed the register for Venezuelans already in T&T, whether legally or illegally. This won’t apply to refugees or asylum-seekers. If registrants are involved in criminal activity or give false information during registration, they’ll be deported. He said the process will be stringent, similar to visa applications.
As part of the plan for them to register with the National Security Ministry, it’s proposed Venezuelans will be allowed to work for a year. Young’s said the registration process would prevent employers from exploiting/ill-treating them. Once Venezuelans are here legally, they’ll have to register with the Board of Inland Revenue and once their salary is above $6,000, they’ll have to pay taxes and health surcharge, if they work.
Venezuelans will be allowed to travel back and forth to their homeland for the one- year period. If national security suspicions arise about anyone, they’ll be “pulled in “ for questioning.
Last month, Young said there would be no cap on the registration process in the first instance. He’d explained it may be for a period of time whether two weeks or a month and it hadn’t been determined up to then. But, he said, the shorter the period, the better.
He ‘d also said, he expected before registration begins, Venezuelans may try to enter T&T. On concerns about Venezuelans competing with locals for jobs, he’d said jobs would be open to everyone and may the “best person win.”
On the upcoming Cabinet note, Young said yesterday’s discussions on the matter will include a conversation on what some feel may be a distortion of the labour market and dealing with exploitation of Venezuelans.
“At this stage, we don’t have an accurate figure of how many Venezuelans are here,” Young added.
Young also gave assurances on concerns concerning recruitment of firemen in Tobago. He assured all 50 recruits will be Tobagonians and this format will be maintained.
He said while recruits will be trained in Tobago, there may not be 50 jobs all in Tobago and some of those trained may work in Trinidad.
On outstanding payment of stipends for soldiers who’d worked on Dominica’s hurricane recoup, Young said he’d asked the ministry to deal with it since they should be paid.
He said the forensic pathologist for the Forensic Science Centre was hired on a three- year contract and he expected any backlog of work would have cleared.
On possible use by National Security of a site at Citrus Growers Association in Sea Lots, Young said that wasn’t a priority item
Reporter: Gail Alexander