Police dispel reports of “influx of Venezuelans”

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CANA News is reporting that Assistant Commissioner of Police in Grenada Jessmon Prince has dismissed reports of an influx of Venezuelan refugees.

The top law enforcement officer, in a press conference held earlier this week said this is despite an announcement from the US that it’s Naval Hospital Ship “Comfort” will be offering its services to the island during a five months humanitarian mission that will take it to countries “overwhelmed” by Venezuelans refugees.

“Comfort” began its journey last month and during its deployment, the ship will make stops in Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago.

It is scheduled to be in Grenada in September.

“We do not have a situation of any influx of Venezuelans we have people who come here normally like on vacation spend their time and go back, if they are here illegally, they will be arrested, charged and we deported them. We have not had anybody coming here under any refugee status from Venezuela,” Prince said when questioned about the current state of Venezuelans arriving at the island’s ports of entry.

Data from the Grenada Tourism Authority revealed  that in 2017 and 2018 , over 400 Venezuelans arrived in the country.

When comparing the first five months of 2018 and 2019, it shows a reduction in arrivals, between January to May 2018, 216 Venezuelans arrived here while for January to May 2019 the amount went down to 103.

Prince used the occasion to confirm that Venezuelans like other nationals have had to be deported for violation of immigration laws such as overstaying without permission from an Immigration Officer.

“We have had to deport Venezuelans all the time, they have been coming here time immemorial and we have not seen any difference in what we have,” he said.

Venezuela’s Ambassador in Grenada  Jorge Alfonzo Guerrero Veloz has also confirmed that his embassy has not received any information from Government or any agency in Grenada that the island has had requests from Venezuelans seeking asylum or refugee status in accordance with international convention.

“From our knowledge, the island Grenada is not overwhelmed by Venezuelan refugees, no economic refugees are here,” Jorge said.

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