Cedros port reopened

Venezuelan ferry operators have started coming back into T&T after the international port resumed operations on Friday.

Among the ferries which docked yesterday was the Angel del Orinoco which arrived at noon and was expected to depart on Saturday. More than eight vessels were expected to arrive.

Cedros residents said they were happy the port operations had resumed. 

Resident Edward Marcelle and  Terry Assong who have both opened their hearts to the Venezuelans fleeing the crisis in their homeland, were among those who spent time at the port when the vessels arrived. Marcelle and Assong were instrumental in building a bench for the Venezuelans and Trinidadians who often wait for hours to be processed.

There is not enough seating accommodation at the port and many times people awaiting arrivals have to wait on the beach under a tree for the foreigners to be processed. The makeshift bench reads in Spanish "Toma asiento mi bella dama" which means "Have a seat, my fair lady."

The names of the men who built the bench were also placed on the bench.

The port has been down for a week after the sewer system malfunctioned. Flooring boards had to be changed. After the Guardian highlighted the story, a team from the Ministry of Works did an assessment and arrangements were made to have the sewer system fixed. However, a source said the roof still leaks and there is a shortage of manpower to adequately process the increased arrivals of foreigners.

On Monday, six ferries and four cargo vessels were turned back because of the closure of the port. For most of the week, the Cedros community which depends on foreign arrivals went back into a period of slumber. Councillor for Cedros Shankar Teelucksingh said while he was happy the port was back up, he wanted increased resources to be placed in Cedros. He renewed his call for a mobile health clinic to be set up to provide imme4diate medical relief for foreigners who appeared to be ill.

Teelucksingh said there is no water or washroom, facilities for the foreigners when they arrive.

Last week, Minister of National Security said moves are afoot to strengthen T&T borders including Cedros and Icacos.

- by Radhica De Silva


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