The T&T Coast Guard (TTCG) and T&T Police Service (TTPS) have embarked on investigations arising from last Saturday’s unfortunate incident involving a Coast Guard vessel and a Venezuelan vessel which resulted in a Venezuelan child being shot and killed.
National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds stated this in the Senate yesterday, expressing deepest condolences to the child’s parents.
Hinds was responding to a query from UNC senator Wade Mark whether an investigation has been launched into the circumstance of the death of a nine-month-old baby aboard a vessel off T&T’s waters last weekend.
The infant was with others in a boat which the Coast Guard said it detected had crossed the borders into T&T waters.
Speaking in the Senate, Hinds said last Saturday the TTCG vessel TTS Scarborough “was indeed involved in an incident out at sea.”
“Unfortunately coming out of this incident it was discovered that a child was shot and killed. I express very sincere condolences to the parents of this child and of course, to the Government and people of Venezuela as it has since been determined that all the occupants on that vessel that approached T&T without authority or notice to the state, were in fact Venezuelan,” Hinds added.
“From the information available to me the TTCG and most certainly the T&T Police Service have embarked upon investigations arising from this unfortunate incident.”
The Caribbean Centre for Human Rights said in a statement yesterday that, “The report by the Coast Guard about the circumstances that led to this deeply tragic event raises a number of questions about how the events unfolded.”
“We recognise that the T&T Government is entitled to exercise its sovereignty to protect national security and secure the nation’s borders however this must be done in accordance with our obligations under international law and ensuring the rights of migrants and refugees are protected. The protection of migrant and refugee rights is not incompatible with the protection of national security.”
The CCHR repeated its call for Government to engage with the international community for support with technical guidance and resources to better respond to the needs of migrants and refugees and protect the human rights of vulnerable persons.