Minister of National Security Stuart Young yesterday claimed Venezuelan activist and psychic Yesenia Gonzalez was posing as a Government official in Margarita and he has asked the authorities to investigate.
He said she was in contact with Trinidad and Tobago nationals in Margarita who are requesting to be allowed to come back home.
Speaking at a Ministry of Health news conference, Young said: “I have been provided with information by our embassy in Caracas that Yesenia Gonzalez and her family have been calling persons in Margarita purporting to be from our Government, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, and representing our embassy, the embassy of Trinidad and Tobago, and requesting personal information under the guise that they are organising for the Government’s repatriation flight. There is absolutely no truth in that whatsoever.
“Again, I don’t deal in personalities but this information is very important for us to bring to the public’s attention that, unfortunately, these individuals who decided to go down to Margarita after the 15th of March, long after the Minister of Health said only travel if it’s essential and for emergency purposes, and now have found themselves with our borders being closed, they are trying to create mischief and it is my duty, unfortunately, to draw that to the public’s attention,” he said.
In response to questions on whether an investigation was launched, Young said he could not say.
“I did ask the Venezuelan authorities be alerted to this because it is illegal everywhere in the world to be committing acts of fraud and passing yourself off...especially in something as important as this, passing yourself off as an agent of the Government when you are not. I can’t say whether there is an investigation ongoing but this is a very serious potential offence,” he said.
Young said he raised the issue because he wants the public to know about the mischief taking place.
In response to Young’s comments, Gonzalez said she is shocked and in a state of disbelief that the minister had accused her of being a fraud on national television.
“I am totally shocked, I still can’t catch myself because it’s very serious and puts me in a position where I look like some scamp and scheming people. I can’t find words,” she said yesterday in a telephone interview with the Express from Margarita.
“Imagine the minister saying that about me when I work so hard in Trinidad for Venezuelans, Trinidadians, anybody who need my help, I give my all to help,” she added.
Gonzalez, who is a Venezuelan national and permanent resident of Trinidad and Tobago, together with her husband (who is a T&T national) and her two sons, is among the group of people stranded in Venezuela and unable to re-enter Trinidad as the borders closed at midnight on March 22.
Gonzalez said she is disturbed by Young’s comments.
She requested the minister speak to the consul and embassy officials because they requested her help in getting the names of the Trinidadians in Margarita.
“I have all the information on my phone. I never delete the messages that I have with the consul, all the messages are there where he asked me to get the names of all the people for him. I was helping him to get all the information about the Trinidadians here. I never said I am an official from the embassy or a diplomat, I am Yesenia Gonzalez, a human rights activist and psychic,” she said.
She pointed out that many of the T&T nationals in Venezuela came on organised tours.
“I spoke to the people from Krystal Tours and asked them to talk to the consul about how many people here,” she said.
Gonzalez reiterated that she and her relatives went to Margarita to carry medicines and food items to her family there and also to donate.
She also pointed out that her Facebook page has several posts asking for information on Trinidadians in Venezuela because even the media were calling her asking for assistance in locating these persons.
“I do not believe in lying and fraud and anything that is evil. I stand for truth and goodness and on this holy day I am being accused of something that is not in my belief. It is very sad,” she said.
“I’m really sorry that he (Young) could make that statement, it would be very nice if he could talk about getting us back home safe and get all the Trinidadians back home. That is my focus,” she said.
“May God touch their hearts and help them in getting us home,” she added.
She said her life is now placed in danger by false accusations and she’s praying that good prevails.