National Security Minister Stuart Young on Sunday expressed condolences to the families of Venezuelans who died while attempting to reach TT. He described the incident as “tragic and upsetting.”
It has been reported that seven adults and four children, including an 11-month-old baby, died when the boat in which they were travelling from Guiria capsized.
Their bodies were found by Venezuelan authorities sometime on Saturday afternoon.
Responding to Newsday’s questions via WhatsApp, Young said he was saddened by the incident and dismissed earlier reports on social media which suggested local authorities were involved in the incident.
“I have been informed that the bodies that have been recovered were close to the Venezuelan coastal town of Guiria. Our coast guard has been in touch with the Venezuelan authorities who confirmed the above.
“I have seen all sorts of speculation and misinformation about the involvement of the TT Coast Guard, none of which is true.
“If this is an incident of human smuggling, it is very sad that once again the criminal elements have, through their nefarious activities, caused the loss of lives. I pray for the families.”