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Penal parish assists migrants

Details of exploitation, uncooperative employers and landlords have been shared by Venezuelan migrants accessing help with paperwork to re-register with the Ministry of National Security.

Up to the morning of March 18, more than 400 migrants accessed the service provided at the St Dominic’s RC Penal which began March 8 and culminated March 25. The parish had assisted migrants with preparing forms for the first registration exercise under the Archdiocesan Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (AMMR) May 31–June 14, 2019.

Christina John, translator and one of the AMMR coordinators said: “We’re doing the printing of forms, copy of ID cards, birth papers, any other documents that have to be attached; we are doing the copies and everything for free.” Although the service was supposed to end at 6 p.m., she said one day it extended to 9 p.m.

John said the team working comprised persons fluent in Spanish, three translators and volunteers. “We have five tables set up…so we try to attend to ten persons per table so we actually have a JP [Justice of the Peace] on spot signing affidavits for them, at a low-cost price.” A photographer is also available.

John said migrants from Curepe, Cunupia, San Fernando, Fyzabad and Siparia have visited the parish for help.

The Ministry of National Security has asked that the 16,523 migrants registered under the Venezuelan Migrant Registration Framework to re-register between March 8 and March 26. The date was later extended to April 9.

In January 2020, National Security Minister Stuart Young announced a six-month extension and with the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent extensions were given in June and December.