Young: Cabinet to discuss register for Venezuelans next week

One year amnesty for Venezue­lans near­er?

The Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­istry’s pro­posed reg­is­ter for Venezue­lans in T&T will be dis­cussed in Cab­i­net next week.

At the post-cab­i­net me­dia brief­ing, Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young said a note will be tak­en to Cab­i­net on the is­sue then.

Young re­cent­ly pro­posed the reg­is­ter for Venezue­lans al­ready in T&T, whether legal­ly or il­le­gal­ly. This won’t ap­ply to refugees or asy­lum-seek­ers. If reg­is­trants are in­volved in crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ty or give false in­for­ma­tion dur­ing reg­is­tra­tion, they’ll be de­port­ed. He said the process will be strin­gent, sim­i­lar to visa ap­pli­ca­tions.

As part of the plan for them to reg­is­ter with the Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­istry, it’s pro­posed Venezue­lans will be al­lowed to work for a year. Young’s said the reg­is­tra­tion process would pre­vent em­ploy­ers from ex­ploit­ing/ill-treat­ing them. Once Venezue­lans are here legal­ly, they’ll have to reg­is­ter with the Board of In­land Rev­enue and once their salary is above $6,000, they’ll have to pay tax­es and health sur­charge, if they work.

Venezue­lans will be al­lowed to trav­el back and forth to their home­land for the one- year pe­ri­od. If na­tion­al se­cu­ri­ty sus­pi­cions arise about any­one, they’ll be “pulled in “ for ques­tion­ing.

Last month, Young said there would be no cap on the reg­is­tra­tion process in the first in­stance. He’d ex­plained it may be for a pe­ri­od of time whether two weeks or a month and it hadn’t been de­ter­mined up to then. But, he said, the short­er the pe­ri­od, the bet­ter.

He ‘d al­so said, he ex­pect­ed be­fore reg­is­tra­tion be­gins, Venezue­lans may try to en­ter T&T. On con­cerns about Venezue­lans com­pet­ing with lo­cals for jobs, he’d said jobs would be open to every­one and may the “best per­son win.”

On the up­com­ing Cab­i­net note, Young said yes­ter­day’s dis­cus­sions on the mat­ter will in­clude a con­ver­sa­tion on what some feel may be a dis­tor­tion of the labour mar­ket and deal­ing with ex­ploita­tion of Venezue­lans.

“At this stage, we don’t have an ac­cu­rate fig­ure of how many Venezue­lans are here,” Young added.

Young al­so gave as­sur­ances on con­cerns con­cern­ing re­cruit­ment of fire­men in To­ba­go. He as­sured all 50 re­cruits will be To­bag­o­ni­ans and this for­mat will be main­tained.

He said while re­cruits will be trained in To­ba­go, there may not be 50 jobs all in To­ba­go and some of those trained may work in Trinidad.

On out­stand­ing pay­ment of stipends for sol­diers who’d worked on Do­mini­ca’s hur­ri­cane re­coup, Young said he’d asked the min­istry to deal with it since they should be paid.

He said the foren­sic pathol­o­gist for the Foren­sic Sci­ence Cen­tre was hired on a three- year con­tract and he ex­pect­ed any back­log of work would have cleared.

On pos­si­ble use by Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty of a site at Cit­rus Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion in Sea Lots, Young said that wasn’t a pri­or­i­ty item

Reporter: Gail Alexander

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