State stopped from deporting 9 V’zuelans


A HIGH COURT judge has given protection to nine Venezuelans – four adults and five children – preventing their deportations, at least for now.

Justice Ricky Rahim on Tuesday granted applications filed on behalf of the group which, as part of a larger group of 25, returned to TT illegally on November 24.

The 25 were quarantined at the state-controlled quarantine facility at the heliport in Chaguaramas. Most of them received orders from various judges preventing their deportation during their quarantine period which ended on Tuesday.

Relatives for the children, who are in Trinidad as UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) asylum seekers or holders of the Government’s registration cards, expressed fear of the children’s fate after the quarantine period ended.

“The parents keep asking what happens to the children when quarantine finishes tonight (Tuesday),” one worried relative told Newsday. Sunday’s discovery of the bodies of at least 22 Venezuelans who made the journey of death from a Venezuela coastal town to Trinidad.

Applications were made for the nine since they were not covered by previous orders for interim relief granted by at least two judges.

They are represented by attorneys Gerald Ramdeen, Dayadai Harripaul, Umesh Maharaj, and Nerisa Bala.

Newsday understands that immigration officials were expected to interview the group when their quarantine period ended.

The quarantine orders for the group stipulated that they had to remain at the heliport. There are questions on if they will be detained further and where and on what authority unless orders of supervision are issued by the authorities.

Newsday was told by some of their relatives that the Children’s Authority visited the homes where the group intended to stay until their matters are determined in the courts, but they have heard nothing since. The appeal has been set for December 21.

On December 1, Justice Frank Seepersad dismissed the application filed on the girl’s behalf in which she sought injunctive relief to prevent the authorities from deporting her until her claim for constitutional relief was determined by the court.

The notice of appeal says the effect of Seepersad’s ruling allows the State to deport the girl at any time. She is currently under quarantine at the heliport in Chaguaramas with the others who returned to Trinidad, two days after they were escorted from TT’s waters by the Coast Guard.

In the notice of appeal, the attorneys argue that the judge was wrong in failing to give effect to the best interest principle of the child and for not distinguishing between people who enter TT illegally and those who enter to seek asylum. There are 19 grounds of appeal.

Last week, the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted protection measures to six migrant children who were part of the group.

It said pursuant to Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, it has requested that TT adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the rights to life to the six by refraining from deporting or expelling them to Venezuela until authorities have assessed the risks they face.

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