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Dear Editor: Young not ashamed of treatment of Venezuela children? He has skin like ‘crapaud leather’?

“[…] The children were treated in a cruel, inhumane and unusual way. It is utterly ridiculous for Stuart Young to pull some verbal sleight of hand, arguing that they were ‘escorted’ and not ‘deported’…”

The following Letter to the Editor on the deportation of 16 Venezuelan children was submitted to Wired868 by Dr Russell D Lutchman MRC Psych LLB (Hons) Dip Mgmnt Cert Soc Sci HRD (Amnesty International), who is a consultant forensic psychiatrist in the UK:

Photo: Over a million children are estimated to have been left behind in Venezuela as their parents seek employment elsewhere.
(Copyright NY Times)

I have to tell you that for the fifth time in the last five years, I am totally ashamed to be a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago. It matters not that I reside in England.

When I read about the treatment of several Venezuelan children—one just four months old—I felt sick. I couldn’t have cared less if they were immigrants, asylum seekers or illegal.

Boss, ah cyah express mehself if ah doh talk in Trini. Ah vex! Give meh a lil space as I dispense with dee Queen’s English.

Yuh doh treat people soooo! Yuh do not treat helpless children in dat way—throw dem on a fishing boat and set dem out on rough seas. Ah mean who was jumping out to save de four-month old if she or he fell into de ocean?! Dis ting is pure nonsense! No man, I eh having it!

I couldn’t believe meh eyes when I viewed photographs of some fella holding de four-month old up, coming off de fishing boat in high water.

Photo: Two Venezuelan children at a shelter in Roraima, Brazil.
The shelter has exceeded the recommended capacity and as a result, people resort to sleeping on the streets or in public spaces.

The children were treated in a cruel, inhumane and unusual way. It is utterly ridiculous for Stuart Young to pull some verbal sleight of hand, arguing that they were ‘escorted’ and not ‘deported’. He is a lawyer, so what?

Mr Young, does the law and politics rob you of your ability to feel shame? I have to wonder.

In England, we saw similar legal sleight of hand by Dominic Cummings (the prime minister’s chief adviser) who tried to justify breaking Covid-19 restrictions to argue that when his eyesight was failing, he had to take a drive to a castle to test out his eyesight. The whole of the UK was totally flabbergasted at the audacity of such an idiotic explanation.

The children—whether illegal or not, whether citizens or not—have several rights protected by the constitution of Trinidad and Tobago, and several treaties to which T&T signed up to.

So, how can Young pull some argument to justify what happened? He can’t; and his cerebral diarrhoea is ill-becoming of a minister of national security with overall responsibility for this matter. The buck stops with him. 

Photo: National Security Minister Stuart barks orders at Venezuelan migrants outside a registration centre at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain.

He would be making a bigger fool of himself if he continues along his chosen line. But, he doesn’t seem to care. He must have skin like crapaud leather.

The State of Trinidad and Tobago has to take responsibility for the prima facie breach of the Venezuelan children’s rights! Mr Young, take my advice and do the honourable thing: apologise to these children now, and cough up some generous compensation, along with a commitment to respect their rights! No delay.

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6 comments

  1. I will address the children issue. Of course the optics of sending people away on pirogues is not pretty, and to make it worse it’s among others also infants, however they came here on boats very similar to that, one must ask if TT is expected to send them back with a 1st class seat on an airplane. It is not illegitimate to send them back on pirogues when they came here on pirogues. Understand this when a border is to be broken irreperably you don’t send hard back man, you send women, you send children, you send the elderly, and you make sure the press gets pictures of wet children (preferably dead children as it increases the sympathy and the blame factor), the more tears the better, and you place blame on the local government. We are witnessing the attempt to pry open what’s left of our borders. So it’s not good enough that we registered and legalized 16000, it’s not good enough that we extended it another year, it’s not good enough that we may even end up permanently legalizing them, no now we must accept aunty and uncle and their 10kids etc. with no end in sight (pop Vene 33million vs pop TT 1.25million). We Trinbagonians have failed miserably in border security. Where are the coast guard boats, patrol helicopters, offshore border security bases etc. We could even install permanent physical structures out at sea to act as deterents. 500murders a year almost all with smuggled guns because we can’t get our act together. Criminals will exploit every weakness. One irony remains to be seen, we may get a murder reduction simply because the smuggler decides to fill his boat with people rather than drugs and guns, and then our leaders will claim success in the fight against crime.
    The cause of this crisis lies in Washington not Port of Spain or Caracas. Watch documentaries about the Roman Empire (Roman Empire vs Vercingetoryx etc.) , the Vatican, Napoleon, the British, the Russians, Chinese and Japanese. Empire doesn’t care who it tramples to get what it wants.

  2. I’ve been reading loads of comments on this article on Facebook. These a mainly from those classified as ‘keyboard warriors’.

    Quite a few people are occupied with the origins of the photograph. Some – as usual have told the Dr to take the children to England etc. Others seem to just rant about the illegality of the children’s presence or the illegality of people from Venezuela (as they see it). Then we have some saying that anybody who supports these children are supporting gangs, drugs and weapons etc. I really could not believe the low level of intelligence I was seeing up there. To crown the stupidity, somebody take a turn in the doctor’s name itself as if that was something of relevance. I never seen such total stupidity, in a long time. Some of these people mouthing off must be staunch religious types or maybe not.

    But hold on most of the people who were mouthing off, did not address the actual treatment of the children. Nobody said they would be happy if their child (or one they knew and loved) was treated in that way. There was no attempt I could see among all the gum-bumping comments to deal with the issue of the children’s rights.

    If people from first world countries read all those comments on Facebook on this article, they would not be wrong in inferring that the average Trini is a callous ignorant dunce.

    Editor, I have a theory – one that is going on behind closed doors and I want to bring it right out in the public. Let’s talk real. A lot of the angst is about two main things:

    1. Trini woman vex that the prettier of the Venez taking away dey man! Let’s be real everybody knows that Venez women have ranked highest in the world on attractiveness. I think it is true that the influx of Venez uman on average is seen as a threat – that is what this is about. That talk has been floating on the Rock for some time.

    2. The average lazy Trinibagonian is worried about their own job, because immigrants would take up jobs they wouldn’t and for less pay.

    The average Trinibagonian responding on Facebook needs to get educated, and stop bringing down the image of the country in the eyes of the world.

    • To Whom is “Captain (White) Walker” referring…???
      (1) what makes “venezuelan” women (mulattos), “prettier” than the “average trinbagonian” (black, africans)???
      (2) which trinbagonians are “average” and “LAZY”???

      The racist, white supremist beauty standard that Captain Walker legitimizes, is the same racism that guides capitalism in T&T. There is a concerted effort by many indians, europeans, syrians etc to weaponize immigration in order to ‘swamp’ and delegitimize the black african vote and labour force. Only mulattos and middle easterners, indians and asians are being encouraged to migrate to T&T, while black african immigrats from even the same region are denied entry or ill-treated. Only mulattos and non-indigenous africans are being extended humanity to!!!
      SICK SICK SICK

  3. How can that be fair when you enter a country that is not cared for the Venezuelans. People are complaining the way they are treated. I have a suggestion maybe they can give the country money so that the people can be put in a better place or a hotel. Why are as a people loved to encourage the wrong. We left your country went the boarders are closed. You break the law. Many of your people are over here, where they are given better treatment than you because they follow the right procedures. When the shoe was on the another foot our nationals were treat like criminals, is not so. What would it take for our people to understand that these people are here for a reason. They are more than us. Be careful they do not try to over take our country. Be aware they are not to be trusted. Just be careful.