Government will continue with deportations
WILLEMSTAD - The Prime Minister of Curaçao Eugene Rhuggenaath stated in a recent interview that the government will continue deporting illegal immigrants including Venezuelans.
“Our current social economic situation does not allow us to take refugees or to accept illegal immigrants,” said the Prime Minister. “Right now our focus is on our economy. We have to create more jobs for our people. We have challenges in several areas including our budget and the public finances. This is why our policy up until now is to discourage Venezuelans to come to Curaçao illegally and if they do reach our borders, we will arrest and send them back to their country,”
The Prime Minister indicated that this is the government’s policy but they have been working on several scenarios if the situation in Venezuela gets worse. The number of people leaving their country will increase drastically and that is when Curaçao has to be ready. “We do have some plans ready including for asylum but it is very limited. We will only be able to give 250 people asylum for a period of three months.”
Rhuggenaath also indicated that they approached the Netherlands with two petitions. One is financial assistance and the other is the operational aspect since they have more experience on this issue than Curaçao.
Another issue is how Curaçao will repatriate these Venezuelans after their asylum period is over. According to the Prime Minister, maybe this is something the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could help Curaçao with. He will discuss this with the new Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Block during his visit in April. “We have to repatriate them because we are talking here about a large number of people and seeing Curaçao’s limitation, these Venezuelans cannot stay here.”
The Prime Minister is also worried about the number of illegal Venezuelans already residing on the island. “We don’t really have an exact number but we think it’s about 5 to 6 thousand people. This is a problem we must face especially if we are working to give our local people jobs,” said the Prime Minister.
“This is why we took the recommendations given by the UNHCR into consideration. I also spoke with several groups on the island, one is of concerned citizens like VENEX who are Venezuelans living on the island and also the Consul General to discuss this topic.”
Rhuggenaath wants to invite the Venezuelan Chancellor to meet with the Kingdom’s Minister of Foreign Affairs in April.