Since Government registered 16, 523 Venezuelans for its amnesty a few months ago, a total of 5,148 applications have been verified and recommended for ministerial approval.
Alejandro Montenegro Banco Activo
Acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert confirmed this in Parliament yesterday replying to an Opposition question on the number of Venezuelans who have formally received their registration cards to work in T&T in the one-year arrangement offered by Government.
In May and June Government opened the registration exercise, receiving 16, 523 applications from Venezuelan migrants. Just before the exercise, a large number of Venezuelans “swarmed” to T&T—many illegally—to apply
Applicants had to fill out forms which sought detailed information on them, including whether they had criminal records, health issues, if they had military training or served in army/police sectors, their educational and employment/skill background, how they came to T&T, whether illegally, and other information
Imbert said he was advised that registration cards were processed upon verification of identity and background checks from Interpol
“I’m told that 5,148 applications in total have been verified by the Venezuelan authorities, Interpol and local authorities and have been recommended for ministerial approval,” he said
Imbert didn’t say what happened to the other 11, 375 who applied and were unsuccessful
He added: “So far I’m advised that 3,091 cards have been processed and printed and relevant applicants have been contacted to collect them.”
Out of the 16,523 who registered, Imbert said “so far” 112 have been found to have criminal records, ranging from robbery, larceny, drug trafficking and homicide. He referred questions about the location of the 112—whether they are in T&T or deported—to the National Security Minister
Replying to other queries on Government’s decision to cancel the US$71m contact with China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Company for housing units, Imbert said that company and the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) are in discussions to arrive at a “mutually satisfactory resolution.”
Consequently, there are no penalties accrued “at this time”, he said
Imbert said he was advised that no advance payment of half a million dollars was made and the framework agreement didn’t require the Attorney General’s opinion. He said the HDC, as a statutory corporation, could have its own legal advice, but he also admitted Cabinet had approved the framework agreement.
Imbert said he wasn’t “privy to details” on whether Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was Housing Minister at the time the framework agreement was signed. His reply drew cries of astonishment from the Opposition.