Tuesday 2 June, 2020

Trinidadians caught sending vessels to Venezuela

Trinidadians were allegedly caught taking vessels over to Venezuela to carry out black market trade, said National Security Minister Stuart Young.

Speaking at Tuesday's media briefing on the country's COVID-19 response, Young said confirmed that several men were detained and charged.

He said the men were in breach of the country's current regulations enacted in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“At National Security (Ministry) we continue to be very aware of our maritime borders, our radar system is working, it has been upgraded. Our Coast Guard is working along with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service."

“What is actually happening is we’re having Trinidadians now taking their vessels and going across to Venezuela."

“After a sting operation over the weekend, some of them were charged for breaching this regulation and breaking our borders."

Young said that contrary to some comments, there is not a large number of Venezuelans coming into the country at this time, as Venezuela is under lockdown in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. 

“There is not the number of Venezuelans coming across because right now in Venezuela there’s a complete lockdown…we’re not seeing that influx despite what people say, but there are Trinidadians going across to try and start a trade.”

Recently, two Diego Martin men were held in connection with illegal wildlife trafficking. Officials found 43 dead parrots and four dead river otters, with the remaining animals in critical condition. 

Often, wild animals are brought into the country from Venezuela as part of the illegal pet trade. 

Government has closed the country's borders until April 30, 2020, in order to stop the spread of the virus. 

As of April 7, 2020 at 4.04 pm, there were 107 confirmed cases of the disease and eight deaths.

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