Venezuelan migrants

Venezuelan nationals line up outside Achievors Banquet Hall, Duncan Village, San Fernando, during the Government's registration initiative in 2019. -Photo: TREVOR WATSON

Migrants in Trinidad and Tobago, by legal or illegal means, have been taken into consideration in the Government’s National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme.

So said Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh during the Ministry of Health’s virtual Covid-19 press conference on Wednesday.

Asked what would be done to target that segment of the society, Deyalsingh said it is the Government’s policy to treat with such individuals and drew reference to a decision by Cabinet in June 2019, that all immigrants in Trinidad and Tobago, regardless of their status, will be eligible for vaccines.

“And this is planned for what we call Phase 3 in the vaccination rollout. That is when we get huge amounts vaccines. So all immigrants, every soul in Trinidad and Tobago, will have access to vaccines. That is Government’s policy and will be implemented pending the arrival of what we call large commercial quantity of vaccines.

Currently Trinidad and Tobago has a Venezuelan migrant population of just around 16,000, representing those who would have accepted the opportunity of gaining some degree of social status and legality via a national registration card, by being registered during a registration exercise that started in May 2019.

However, even with the country’s borders being closed, the number of Venezuelans entering the country by illegal means, continues to rise as they evade the various arms of national security agencies, with no one knowing the exact amount of illegal Venezuelan migrants currently residing here.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Taxpayers have forked out close to $4 million in legal fees in the matter of Vertical Aviation LLC and the lease of the Sikorsky S76D helicopter by the former government.

Vertical Aviation had claimed the Government failed to satisfy its obligations under the lease by not paying rent and interest due for late rent payments, failed to replenish the security deposit after the aviation company applied the deposit funds to late rent payments, failed to enrol the aircraft in a tip-to-tail maintenance programme and did not maintain insurance for the aircraft.

Professor of molecular genetics and virology at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Christine Carrington says while there are yet no confirmed cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Trinidad and Tobago, it is only a matter of time before the highly transmissible variant is detected here.

Carrington was speaking during yesterday’s virtual news conference hosted by the Ministry of Health.

A 41-year-old woman remained in police custody yesterday, being questioned in connection with the murder of Maritime General and Fidelity Finance chairman and Piarco Airport corruption accused John Smith, 74, on Friday afternoon.

Around 4.30 p.m. on Friday, offi­cers of the Maraval Police Station responded to a call that there was a domestic dispute at a residence in Haleland Park, Saddle Road, Mara­val.

For decades, Trinidad and Tobago has battled a raging gang problem.

Successive governments and law enforcement have fought to reduce criminal organisations which have engaged in well-executed mafia-style illegal operations, including drug and gun running, money laundering, prostitution, extortion, and crimes like murders, robberies and even what are regarded as white-collar ventures.

THE manager at the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) who cleared an employee of any wrongdoing following a complaint against him has signed an affidavit saying he was repeatedly called upon to change his findings in the matter.

He also said he was denied several requests to interview the Min­ister of Public Utilities for a “witness statement in the matter”.

What happened in the canefield was a planned and frenzied assault, Justice Lisa Ramsumair-­Hinds said, in deli­vering guilty verdicts yesterday on Sean Luke murderers Akeel Mitchell and Richard Chatoo.

Recommended for you