Disturbing number of Trinidadians involved in human trafficking of Venezuelans

(Trinidad Express) National Security Minister Stuart Young says the number of Trinidadians involved in the Venezuelan human trafficking ring is disturbing.

“I have asked the TTPS to institute investigations and charges of the Trinidadian individuals who are involved and caught in these operations,” Young stated, in response to questions from the Express yesterday.

T&T recently recorded two Covid-19 cases that have not yet been traced, and epidemiological investigations are ongoing.

The widespread sentiment expressed on social media is that illegal Venezuelans may be infected and bringing in the virus, and they are either being trafficked into Trinidad or bought their way in to escape the ongoing crisis there.

As of yesterday, there were 13,164 Covid-19-positive cases in Vene­zuela and 124 deaths in a population of 28.4 million.

Although T&T’s borders are closed, many fishing vessels have been coming to Trinidad, bringing Venezuelans. Several of these exercises have been intercepted by police, but some slip through undetected.

There was a post on Facebook yesterday highlighting an advertisement for trips between Tucupita, Venezuela, and Trinidad.

The reaction was: “Stuart and Gary. Allyuh blind??? While Trinidad CITIZENS are being refused ENTRY into their homeland! These VENES boldface enough to ADVERTISE trips from Tucupita to Trinidad! With scheduled days and times!.”

The Express questioned Young on these issues and asked further whether border patrols have been reinforced.

Questions were also asked about what happens to the Venezuelans when they are detained by law enforcement.


Young stated, via WhatsApp, the Trini­dad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG) has continued to do its best to protect the mari­time borders, and is using all available assets, inclu­ding the coastal radar system.

“There have been a number of successful interceptions of boats attempting to bring illegal immigrants into Trinidad within recent times.

“Some of these vessels are escorted back to Venezuela and some, depending on the circumstances, are escorted to Trinidad,” he stated.

“What is disturbing is the number of Trini­dadians involved in these human trafficking schemes,” Young added.

He stated that in keeping with the Covid-19 health protocols, the illegal immigrants are quarantined before arrangements are made for their return to Vene­zuela.

Young added that a special quarantine facility at the heliport in Chaguaramas was established, where they are quarantined and monitored until they are returned to Venezuela.

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said yesterday “the enemy within”—rogue police officers—have affected operations to bust trafficking operations.

However, he assured this would not set back investigations and the strengthening of TTPS assets.

“The TTPS no longer runs the old road march used years gone by of saying that our concern of law enforcement is solely on land, we also have a responsibility and would do so.

“The tighter the borders, the less police law enforcement needed to seize the illegal items that enter,” he stated, in response to questions from the Express.

The top cop said police have been monitoring persons of interest who are instrumental in causing such activity, and using different laws to target them.

“At times it is the enemy within that has become a liability.

“Rogue police officers who turn a blind eye, or affiliated with such smugglers, have affected our operations,” he stated.

Griffith stated polygraph tests are being conducted on officers stationed in the South Western Division, adding those who refuse to take them or fail can be transferred. Drug testing is also being conducted, he said.

Griffith disclosed that in a few weeks, the TTPS Coastal Patrol Unit will be operational and will support the Coast Guard via patrolling the shallow waters from shore to two miles.

He also said a crackdown of brothels is coming.

“We are also targeting certain brothels in Central, South and South West, and packaging what is required to recommend that they be shut down when they come for renewal of their licences,” he stated.

Disturbing number of Trinidadians involved in human trafficking of Venezuelans Disturbing number of Trinidadians involved in human trafficking of Venezuelans Reviewed by Anson Moore on July 25, 2020 Rating: 5

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