Dr Amery Browne

Dr Amery Browne 

A repatriation flight to Venezuela from Trinidad and Tobago was cancelled yesterday.

It left 100 Venezuelan nationals stranded at Piarco International Airport when it was found that the Venezuelan airline plane proposed to carry out the exercise was among those sanctioned by the United States.

The Ministry of National Security advised in a statement that “within the past week the Venezuelan government made a request of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to facilitate their provision of a repatriation flight from Trinidad to Venezuela”.

This request was made via the normal diplomatic channels to the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs, the ministry said.

All arrangements made by Venezuela

Preliminary approval for the repatriation exercise was given by the Ministry of National Security, “as it was seen as a humanitarian effort by the government of Venezuela”, the ministry said. “All arrangements were made by Venezuela.”

It stated, however: “When the details were provided of the aircraft that the Vene­zuelan government was proposing to use to repatriate approximately 100 Venezuelan nationals, it was discovered that the aircraft was amongst those sanctioned by the United States of America.

“Unfortunately in those circumstances, the Ministry of National Security could not grant approval for the aircraft to come to Trinidad and Tobago.”

The 100 Venezuelans due to return home were left at the Piarco International Airport as the aircraft came from Venezuela’s national air carrier, Conviasa, which is under US sanction.

The ministry has reached out to the ­United States Embassy in Port of Spain to seek guidance and will work with the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs, with respect to the possibility of a future repatriation exercise by the Venezuelan Government, the ministry stated.

Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne told the Express “approximately 100 Venezuelan nationals had formed an arrangement with the government of Venezuela to be repatriated to ­Venezuela”.

“Unfortunately, the aircraft earmarked by the government of Venezuela has been identified as one that is sanctioned by the USA,” Browne said.