In a statement issued by T&T's Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, said the OAS was engaged in a “continued campaign of misinformation,” carried out by its General Secretariat.
The Trinidad government took note of a statement issued by the OAS on December 30 which made reference to a number of Venezuelan nationals who lost their lives when an overloaded boat capsized, but incorrectly stated that their bodies were found “on the maritime border of Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago.”
The incident occurred in Venezuelan waters off the coast of Güiria.
The T&T Government slammed the OAS for the “distasteful” use of the tragedy of the Venezuelan nationals’ drowning deaths: “To use the tragic circumstance and, even the death of Venezuelan nationals, in such a manner is distasteful, reprehensible and goes against the purpose of the Organisation and its General Secretariat.”
“The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has called on the OAS to put a stop to this “campaign”.
The OAS's current course can result in incalculable damage to the integrity of the organisation and the trust reposed in it by its legitimate members,” Trinidad said.
The doomed vessel, named 'Jhonnaly Jose', was said to be on its way to Trinidad and Tobago, and is reported to have been carrying at least 25 people from Güiria, a port on the north-east coast of Venezuela, although exact passenger numbers remain unclear.
The boat set sail on Tuesday evening but hit choppy waters on its 70km (44-mile) journey to the Caribbean nation.
According to a BBC report, four people were rescued in a joint effort by both countries' coast guards.
"This tragic incident highlights the extreme risks of sea journeys and other irregular cross-border movements undertaken by refugees and migrants," the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said in a statement.
"It also underscores the desperation of those forced to flee their homes and the extraordinary difficulties faced on their journey," the agency added.
- Countries: Trinidad_Tobago
- CARICOM | Heads of government start busy week for CARICOM
- T&T | PM Rowley recouperating well after angioplasty surgery
- T&T | Keith Rowley Gov't refuses to support Venezuela's Juan Guido in the OAS
- T&T | PM Rowley rushed to hospital after not feeling well
- CARICOM | Trinidad's Rowley is New CARICOM Chair