Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has accused the PNM of wanting to use Venezuelan migrants to steal upcoming elections.
Persad-Bissessar, who is also the UNC leader, was at the time delivering the feature address when Ummah TT/Muslim Federation held its annual Eid Dinner on Sunday night June 23, at the Felicity Diplomatic Centre, Chaguanas.
She said the government is seeking to pass legislation that would give the aliens the right to vote.
“The government has filed something known as Immigrations Regulations in the Parliament, we have applied to annul those regulations and that debate should come up in the week ahead," she said.
She added: "What is frightening in those regulations is that it is giving power to the minister in charge of immigration the power to regularize and naturalise aliens. I use aliens in the sense that they are non-Commonwealth. If you are a Commonwealth citizen there is a certain process to become a resident and or to become a citizen, but if you are an alien such as those from Venezuela, in the law. I don’t mean alien from Mars. I don’t mean in a bad way, alien in terms of the law. This is giving power to the Minister, and who is the minister, a politician and a member of the present government, the power to make one of these or the 14,000 or 20,000 Venezuelans to give them the residency then the citizenship."
The Opposition Leader continued: "You know what happens, your vote is totally lost and would not count because you having these aliens being put to vote because after you give them the residency they can vote in a local election and after that you give them the citizenship with the stroke of a pen they are going to be allowed to vote there is no way, no way the Opposition is going to support that kind of law.”
Persad-Bissessar said this was a frightening development.
“Seeing the history of the EBC which we saw in the last election, we illegally changed the regulations, the time, the court ruled it was illegal, the court went to say it wouldn’t make a difference, I beg to disagree with that but then for those matters there is no Privy Council,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar added that this move can possibly wipe out the vote of bonafide T&T citizens.
She said if aliens are allowed to vote they could give the PNM the advantage in the marginal seats.
“In these constituencies all they need to do is register a few hundred and thief the election,” Persad-Bissessar told the meeting.
She said the Opposition would be looking at the legislation in law.