Amidst the bus­tle of Christ­mas shop­ping on High Street, San Fer­nan­do, Venezue­lan mi­grants are roam­ing the streets in search of work and food.

At the cor­ner of Pen­i­tence Street, five mem­bers of the Warao tribe stood with a plac­ard, beg­ging for help. Four young Warao chil­dren played near­by.

A woman who iden­ti­fied her­self as Rosan­na held up a plac­ard which read, “Please Help me. I don’t have a job.”

An­oth­er women’s plac­ard read, “We are the Warao eth­nic group of Venezuela. Can you please help me ….buy food? God Bless you.”

With the aid of Google Trans­late, Rosan­na said she lives at Pe­nal but could not give fur­ther in­for­ma­tion was giv­en as they could not speak Eng­lish.

Pres­i­dent of the Greater San Fer­nan­do Area Cham­ber of Com­merce Ki­ran Singh said he was con­cerned about the in­crease in des­ti­tu­tion by the Venezue­lan mi­grants.

“Giv­en the ge­o­graph­i­cal close­ness we have to Venezuela, this so­cio-eco­nom­ic cri­sis has had a neg­a­tive im­pact. Every day we are see­ing more and more Venezue­lans beg­ging on the streets and look­ing for work. They seem some­what des­ti­tute,|” he added.

He ex­plained that many of the mi­grants were com­ing to T&T il­le­gal­ly.

“We would have thought the Venezue­lan gov­ern­ment hav­ing held re­cent elec­tions, would have been tak­ing care of their peo­ple. The fact that they have been sail­ing away in droves is a wor­ry for us as well as busi­ness­peo­ple. We are try­ing to help as best as we can but we have our cit­i­zens and we have lim­it­ed re­sources to help those who are com­ing here il­le­gal­ly,” Singh said.

He not­ed that there was noth­ing wrong with hir­ing mi­grants who are here legal­ly or who were now le­gal­ized to work.

At sev­er­al stores on High Street, mi­grants were seen work­ing. One man dis­trib­uted fly­ers on the street while sev­er­al more as­sist­ed as cashiers and store clerks.

San Fer­nan­do May­or Ju­nia Re­grel­lo who toured the city with Aus­tralia’s High Com­mis­sion­er to T&T Bruce Lendon said he was im­pressed in the up­surge of ac­tiv­i­ty in San Fer­nan­do. He al­so said he will try to as­sist the des­ti­tute fam­i­lies.

“I have not seen a lot more des­ti­tu­tion. I will see how best we can help them and what­ev­er we can do for them we will do to help,” Re­grel­lo said.

He said since Di­vali there has been an in­crease in ac­tiv­i­ties in the city. He en­cour­aged shop­pers to come and take ad­van­tage of the deals that are now avail­able ion the city, not­ing that on Christ­mas week there will be no wreck­ing.

Source: Guardian T&T