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TT | Dec 4, 2020

Trinidad judge gives 21 Venezuelans temporary reprieve from deportation

/ Our Today

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Lawyers were able to file lawsuits for 22 of the group

Minister Of National Security Stuart Young’s office had advised that the deportation was carried out in compliance with the laws of the twin-island republic and in fulfillment of the Keith Rowley Government’s policy on deportation. (Photo: Facebook @DrKeithRowley)

 Twenty-one Venezuelans have reportedly been spared immediate deportation from Trinidad having arrived a second time in the country after being repatriated two Sundays ago. 

The Venezuelans, comprising adults and children, have obtained court orders preventing their immediate deportation pending legal action against the Trinidadian government. The Trinidad Guardian reported that Justice Joan Charles last night granted orders staying the deportation of four of the migrant children. The Guardian also reported that lawyers representing the group had to file individual lawsuits for the 16 children and nine adults who were still quarantined at the Chaguaramas Heliport up to yesterday. Information received indicated that the lawyers were able to file lawsuits for 22 of the group.

UNABLE TO LOCATE RELATIVES TO FILE LAWSUIT

As for the others, the lawyers were unable to locate relatives living in Trinidad legally on whose behalf the lawsuits would be filed. The first case brought before the court on behalf of a four-year-old boy, his sister and their mother was dealt with by Justice Avason Quinlan-Williams, who served as an emergency judge last week. 

In that case, attorneys for the Trinidad government gave an undertaking not to deport the family.

On Monday, Quinlan-Williams granted a similar application for an injunction for a Venezuelan woman and her three children. The court also dealt with the cases of three minors who arrived with the group without their parents and granted similar interim injunctions. The following day, High Court Judge Frank Seepersad delivered a 34-page written decision, in which he denied a similar order for an 11-year-old girl. The judge indicated that he did not believe that the minor’s case had a realistic prospect of success. 

DETAILS OF JUSTICE SEEPERSAD’S RULING

In his ruling, Seepersad held that, “the court, therefore, holds the view that it would not be just or convenient to grant the injunctive relief sought so as to restrain the State from enforcing what on the face of it appears to be the existing domestic law and the court is not satisfied that having regard to all of the outlined circumstances that the reliefs sought in the substantive claim are so clothed with the likelihood of success that the court should adopt the exceptional course of restraining the State from enforcing what appears to be applicable domestic law.” 

More than 20 Venezuelans have received a reprieve from deportation pending legal action against the Trinidadian government. (Photo: Facebook @TTNewsDay)

The judge also ruled that the child’s mother, who is not a registered migrant, was motivated by self-centred socio-economic considerations and did not properly consider her child’s welfare. This, Seepersad declared, is a requirement in the United Nation Conventions that the mother is relying on in the case, when she arranged for her to enter the country illegally with strangers. 

160 VENEZUELANS DEPORTED ON SUNDAY

On Monday, Our Today reported that Trinidad and Tobago last Sunday deported 160 Venezuelans who had illegally entered the island. The deportation exercise, which was carried out in conjunction with the Venezuelan authorities, came even as a High Court judge stopped the immediate deportation of 19 others. A statement from the Ministry of National Security over the weekend advised that the deportation was carried out in compliance with the laws of the twin-island republic and in fulfillment of the Keith Rowley Government’s policy on deportation. In executing the deportation of the Venezuelans, the National Security Ministry statement declared that the government remained resolute in upholding the laws of the country in an effort to protect its citizens. 

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