The T&T Prime Minister says he will also write a letter of complaint to the UN, about its local representatives, whom he said have misrepresented the facts pertaining to the deportation of 82 Venezuelan nationals last Saturday.
During Thursday's Post-Cabinet press briefing, the prime minister expressed concern over the misinformation currently in the public domain and said that he intends to formally complain to the United Nations about comments made by representatives, adding that there is a legal process that needs to be followed in Trinidad and Tobago by all potential migrants.
“I as Prime Minister will, under my hand, write a complaint to the UN at its headquarters about the conduct of persons who take it upon themselves to speak about TT. We are a member of the UN and a very careful and responsible one and if officers of the UN are going to talk about TT, especially those who are in TT and know our circumstance then the least we can expect of them is to stay with the facts,” Rowley said.
“What is being said is that Trinidad and Tobago has behaved in a manner unbecoming of Trinidad and Tobago and that is not the fact. What we have here in Trinidad and Tobago, we have difficulties in a neighbouring state. There are people from that state who have difficulties at home.
"We are generous and caring people. We have arrangements that allow Venezuelans to come to Trinidad and Tobago to stay for a short while, return to Venezuelan, obtain supplies if they have to and so on,” said Rowley.
“Bearing in mind we are not China, Russia or America, we are a little island. We have limited space. 1.3 million people. Therefore we cannot and will not allow UN spokespersons to convert us into a refugee camp,” he said.
The country does acknowledge that there is a crisis in Venezuela, he said, which is why TT is being careful how it handles it “because if we mishandle it, it can create serious problems for us.”
“There are people who want us to join them in invading Venezuela. We are not doing that. There are people who want us to come out and speak and say the Venezuelan government is this or that. They can stay where they are. We are not doing that. Venezuela is our closest neighbour we work on neighbourly relationships and the assistance we provide is the assistance we can afford,” Rowley said.
He criticised more developed nations for their hypocrisy on similar issues, where, when in order to deal with a migrant influx, they slapped on visa restrictions. He also noted that in these countries deportations are common, for example, “Haitians sent back every Monday morning from developed countries with more resources than we have.”
“But we, who have done so much to be friendly and caring to our Venezuelan neighbours, have to listen to UN public servants that we should get their say-so to determine what we do in TT,” Rowley admonished.
the T&T prime minister observed that that many of the people entering his country were economic migrants, many of them illegal.
“Economic migrants do not automatically or easily qualify for refugee status or else all of us here in TT who want to go to America would get on a plane and go there. Every unemployed person in TT if they could afford it would go to Florida,” he said.
Rowley pointed out that those who entered a country illegally—even this country— were at a greater risk for being exploited, either through prostitution or as cheap labourers, leaving their country to come to an even worse situation.
The Venezuelans who had been detained, he said, weren’t done so because they were Venezuelan, but rather because they broke the law, he said. “And it irks me when people appoint themselves spokespersons for our country and have nothing good to say about this place and seek to put us in the worst possible light where our interest is not defended. I will defend the interest of Trinidad and Tobago,” Rowley declared.
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