100 illegal Venezuelans arrested, ferries barred from docking in Cedros

Over 100 illegal Venezuelans have been arrested and about 25 sent to the Detention Centre following a tightening of border patrols around the southern coasts this week.

The Venezuelan ferries which usually bring some 700 plus passengers legally from Venezuela on a weekly basis have been barred from docking at the Cedros port.

When Guardian Media visited the area Wednesday, there were no activities at the port.

A Coast Guard interceptor vessel was docked outside of the security complex and was preventing any Venezuelan vessel from coming into the port.

A source who requested anonymity said only Trinidadians aboard the vessel were being allowed in.

However, some residents said while the ferries were barred, illegal vessels were continuing to come into the peninsular from several points.

When Guardian Media visited Icacos, a van transporting goats were seen leaving the beach.

A resident who requested anonymity said it was usual for boats to be bringing in cargo filled with animals and goods.

Councillor for the area, Shankar Teelucksingh said he wanted to know why the Cedros port was shut down.

"Why shut down the Cedros port and allow the Chaguaramas, San Fernando and Piarco airport to operate. Up to yesterday, a salvage metal boat was allowed to dock.

Flights from Caracas coming in so Venezuelans are entering legally. Why deny Venezuelans entry at the Cedros port legally when remote beaches are unmanned by the military who seem incapable of securing the borders?" Teelucksingh said.

He added, "Up to yesterday we had illegal immigrants coming in from Galfar, Erin Beach and Chatham forests. I find it strange that people who are coming in legally are being denied entry when those who are illegal are getting to enter."

Last week Minister of National Security Stuart Young announced that maritime border patrols have been stepped up to secure the country’s borders following the escalation of the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela.

While Government has maintained its position of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela, Young said citizens can rest assured that the country’s borders are being manned to prevent the illegal entry of Venezuelan nationals who may be fleeing the South American nation.  

- by Radhica De Silva. Photo by Rishi Ragoonath.

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