“NO chit. No chance.”
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith made this abundantly clear yesterday to Venezuelans who gathered at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain to register before tomorrow’s deadline.
Griffith and a large contingent of police and soldiers paid an early morning visit to the migrant registration centre which was teeming with Venezuelans.
Migrants who were unable to register were given a numbered chit and told to return so they could be given priority. Griffith also said any extension was not in his hands but that Venezuelans who had a chit will be given an opportunity to register by June 14.
“If they are any other Venezuelan nationals who are not here it means that they do not want to be registered. Those who are at the registration centres and are given a chit will be facilitated between today, tomorrow and Friday. After that, if you do not have a chit, you do not have a chance,” Griffith said. There was a noticeable increase in police and military presence along Havelock Street with two policemen from the Mounted Branch keeping watch .
Between fielding questions, an official said: “We are hoping to get through by Friday. We have brought on more personnel to process them. More officers. More clerks. The process is going smoothly. I feel they should have opened up the whole facility. I feel they will not extend the deadline.”
Asked about the Venezuelans’ conduct yesterday, the official added: “They don’t have a choice. They have to behave themselves.”
A policeman added: “We don’t know what can happen because they only have two more days. They are behaving better than on Tuesday. We need to close the borders. Every other country is doing it.”
On Tuesday, National Security Minister Stuart Young visited the Oval and appealed to Venezuelans to queue up so the registration process could flow smoothly.