I am very concerned by the latest developments regarding our Venezuelan migrant crisis. It appears that international agencies and players have taken to ramping up the pressure on this country to relax its justified stance on the illegal entry of Venezuelans through our borders.
In light of this, I support the firm position of Prime Minister Dr Rowley in defending the sovereignty of this country in the face of unwarranted attacks, which seem to be disturbingly politically motivated in some cases.
This country has been more than accommodative to Venezuelan migrants, going so far as to make the unprecedented move of registering over 16,000 to allow them to work legally and have an opportunity in our small islands. I remember this being of concern for many citizens, but this country saw it as a duty to deal with those that were here. I also recall the Government clearly drawing the line to say this was all we can accommodate and that others will be treated in accordance with our laws.
Fast forward to today where there are calls for TT to offer a blanket open-border policy and apply refugee status to those who are clearly economic migrants. What will this mean for a small country of 1.4 million people to open up to 34 million Venezuelans?
Further, in battling covid19, our resources are not only strained but our borders are closed to our own nationals. Are these agencies and spokespersons now saying these economic migrants have more rights to enter TT than our own citizens? As we continue to manage our health crisis, an uncontrolled migrant crisis can be detrimental to us.
The other side to this issue appears to be the political undercurrents which seem to be at play. TT has now found itself at the centre of larger political manoeuvring, as the migrant crisis and its treatment have upended this dark underbelly.
Clear untruths, apparent intentional efforts to make this country look bad and questionable actions from international agencies have been revealed. I am very concerned by this but comforted by the fact that the Government has decided to hold its ground courageously instead of bowing to this unwarranted pressure.
As nationals of TT, this is not the time for us to play politics with this migrant crisis. Now more than ever we are required to take a unified stance and support our Government in defending our sovereignty. This country has been a gracious host and continues to be. However, in a case where we gave a yard and others are seeking to take a mile, this TT house must not be divided but must speak as one voice. What is happening is clearly wrong and we as citizens know it.