While police locked down the coastal points at Beach Camp, Palo Seco and Erin on Wednesday night, three more boatloads of Venezuelans arrived at Icacos Beach and Columbus Bay, while many more hid in the forests.
A source who requested anonymity said the boats came in between 11 pm on Wednesday to 1.30 am on Thursday.
Shortly after midnight, a contingent of police officers arrived searching for the Venezuelans.
It is believed they fled into the forests near Constance Estate, La Vega Estate, St Quintin Estate near Columbus Bay.
Three were arrested near Gran Chemin and 12 held at Fullarton, Cedros.
Customs officers patrolled along with police from the Southwestern Divisional Task Force led by Senior Supt Deonarine Basdeo.
Some of the Venezuelans who were arrested by police at Palo Seco on Wednesday spent the night at the Irwin Park facility at Siparia. Among those was Yorlis Josefina Guevara.
She said, “It was getting rough for my family and I needed a way to help them. It was not an easy decision coming here.” Saying she was terrified when they were caught, Guevara said she felt they were going to be deported.
“But the police treated us well and gave us food and helped us with clothes and other things,” she added.
Another Venezuelan Jesus Moreno said he came for work to help his seven brothers and his mother who stayed back in Venezuela. He said all he wanted was a chance to work.
Miguel Castaro said he left his mother, aunts and sisters in Tucupita and came to Trinidad with his wife and three daughters. He said his sister was suffering from sores on her body and there was no medicine to treat her.
Castaro said he worked with the Venezuelan army and was willing to do any job just to feed his family.
In an interview with Guardian Media, councillor for the area, Shankar Teelucksingh questioned whether the 360-degree radar was functional.
“I want to know whether the radar is working? How is it that the Venezuelans are still arriving at the southern coasts?
Where is the Coast Guard? Is it that they are only patrolling to stop the Venezuelans ferries?” Teelucksingh asked.
He also questioned why Immigration granted an order of supervision to 105 Venezuelans to stay in the country for three months.
They who were picked up on Wednesday at Aguillera Trace, Beach Camp.
One of the orders of supervision papers handed to Erica Yohan Mendoza Michelena advised that he has to report to the senior immigration officer at Knox Street, San Fernando in July.
Teelucksingh said the Venezuelans should have received clearance to stay for one week in Trinidad to get supplies and then the ferries should have been hired to deport them back to Venezuela.
He called on the Ministry to set up refugee camps and to liaise with agencies like the UNCHR and Red Cross to help the Venezuelans.
Registration of all Venezuelans will begin in a week’s time.
All Venezuelans who qualify will be allowed to live and work in Trinidad for a year.
Reporter: Radhica De Silva and Mark Bassant