Venezuela – Food Fight Every Day
Venezuelan Ambassador to T&T, Ambassador Coromoto Godoy Calderon recently attempted to allay fears that there is a higher than normal amount of Venezuelans coming to Trinidad. She dismissed it a purely based on good relations between the two countries and that the exchange is simply due to normal visits. Here is a recent video that C News did during her country’s independence celebration in San Fernando:
Therefore in light of this on-going and worsening crisis, it is just obvious that more and more Venezuelans will seek avenues for an escape. Here are some of the risks that excessive amounts of Venezuelans can pose to T&T’s economy if this situation is not managed prudently:
- Depletion of T&T’s Foreign Exchange – most working Venezuelans in T&T will convert excess earnings into US$ and send it to their relatives that they have left behind.
- Increase of Illegal Firearms as they are exchanged for food and toiletry items – this will give rise to increased gang activity and armed robberies.
- Increase in cases of Human trafficking – recently a T&T couple was held for keeping a young Venezuela woman as a sex slave.
- Undermining of minimum Wage for labour – Venezuelan nationals may work for below our stipulated minimum wage – hence displacing job opportunities for nationals.
- Increase in drug trade this can lead to money laundering and further drive inflation.
- More demand for apartments will cause the rent for these accommodations to increase, making housing less affordable to the average national.
- More sex workers – this can lead to the proliferation of STDs and further burden the Health Sector.
While we are deeply concerned for our neighbours, T&T has its own challenges as well because of the low oil prices. Our foreign exchange rate against the US$ is slipping, and as it is we are already over-burdened with the crime situation which is now at a Critical State according to the US Overseas Security Advisory Council. Steps are urgently needed to avoid the T&T economy from slipping faster than it is already slipping. Let’s not wait until we have to fight for food here as well.