Young: No inhumane treatment of Venezuelans at IDC
National Security Minister Stuart Young speaks with reporters following a tour of the Venezuelan Migrant Registration Centre at Queen's Park Oval in Port-of-Spain on June 6, 2019.
Venezuelan nationals being held at the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) who embarked on a hunger strike on Monday are being treated humanely.
So said National Security Minister Stuart Young in response to claims of inhumane treatment of these nationals at the Aripo facility.
Young’s comments follow a video circulating on social media in which a group of Venezuelan men say they are being kept at the facility under poor conditions, while some of them say they have been wrongly detained.
Speaking with reporters following a tour of the Venezuelan Migrant Registration Centre at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain on Thursday, Young said he was “pleasantly surprised at the facilities at the IDC” on a recent tour, and saw no evidence to support such claims.
“The IDC is not an inhumane place. Once people are incarcerated, they are not have the liberty that all of us have, and this is going to present difficulties to the individuals.
I can tell you when I went to the IDC, I saw a number of Venezuelans… they were outside participating with the officers during a storytelling time.”
The Minister said no one looked as though they were being treated in an inhumane manner.
Meanwhile, giving an update on the registration process he said in spite of some minor issues encountered in the early stages of the registration of Venezuelan migrants, the process is going smoothly.
In fact, he said he expects a surge in the number of Venezuelan nationals registering in the coming days which may even require an increase in the allocation of resources.
He noted that the process is fluid and would require minor adjustments, as was the case in San Fernando where additional tents were needed for registrants to shelter from the rain and in Tobago where there was not a high number of Venezuelan nationals coming in to register.
Acknowledging initial issues with registrants filling out forms, he assured that these stumbling blocks have been addressed and Government is “doing the best it can”.
“You are seeing these kinks being ironed out, but you would respect and understand that our systems need to be in English… there are bilingual forms, we have the interpreters.”
“I saw people going through the process and there were not issues.”
Young heaped praises on all agencies involved in the registration exercise, stating that he is proud of what they have done collectively to make Trinidad and Tobago a safer place.
The Minister also responded to concerns raised by Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar after she queried the cost of the registration exercise.
He gave the assurance that the number of persons registered during the two-week period and the cost of the exercise will be made public upon its conclusion.
Young has again appealed to Venezuelan nationals in the country to present themselves for registration before the exercise ends on June 14, reminding them that the country’s laws regarding illegal immigration will apply.
He reiterated that no extension on the registration process will be given.