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Women, children hideout in Icacos forest

Nuevos Vecinos, Madrid, España
Women, children hideout in Icacos forest

Des­per­ate to es­cape be­ing caught by the po­lice, more than 50 Venezue­lan women and their chil­dren are hid­ing in the forests of Ica­cos, with man­goes and co­conuts for a meal.

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By dusk, when the mos­qui­toes, gnats and sand flies de­scend, the hun­gry women stum­ble out of the forests in search of food, hold­ing their chil­dren pro­tec­tive­ly around them.

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Guardian Me­dia went in search of the bush fam­i­lies on Thurs­day and saw ev­i­dence of their ex­is­tence. Fresh tracks were seen in the for­est lead­ing to the sea and a knap­sack was spot­ted on the road. A team of of­fi­cers from the Cus­toms and Ex­cise Di­vi­sion were seen search­ing in a road lead­ing to the beach near Gal­far.

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It is an area ac­ces­si­ble on­ly through the bumpy Gran Chemin vil­lage in Ica­cos where an old colo­nial road once broke off leav­ing the land ex­posed to the sea.

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Vil­lager Rox­anne Williams who was seen shred­ding co­conut branch­es to make co­coyea brooms con­firmed that she had seen the home­less for­est chil­dren.

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“It is so sad see­ing them. I can­not imag­ine how they are liv­ing in there where there are snakes and all kinds of an­i­mals,” she said.

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“We es­ti­mate that about 300 of them came up here over the past few days. On Wednes­day, I saw one woman who had a ba­by not old­er than a year. The oth­er child was about four. They were look­ing for food. They run across the road when they saw me,” Williams said.

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She said when­ev­er the Venezue­lans see the po­lice, Cus­toms or Im­mi­gra­tion, they would run in the bush­es and hide.Q21 Real Estate Promociones

An­oth­er vil­lager Can­dy Ed­wards said he es­ti­mat­ed there were still about 50 Venezue­lans hid­ing in the bush­es and aban­doned co­conut es­tates in Ica­cos.

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“Some of those who came be­fore had a con­tact to take them to var­i­ous places to work but many who are com­ing now have no mon­ey, no pos­ses­sions and nowhere to go,” Ed­wards said.Q21 Real State

Hav­ing been im­pris­oned in Venezuela for 52 days af­ter be­ing ar­rest­ed by the Guardia Na­cional last year, Ed­wards said the last thing he want­ed was to be in Venezuela

“It is no won­der that peo­ple run­ning from there. In the vil­lagers like Ped­er­nales, Tu­cu­pi­ta and Capri, peo­ple are suf­fer­ing. They have no food, no wa­ter and no med­i­cine.”

While Ed­wards ex­pressed con­cerns that some of the Venezue­lans were crim­i­nals he said some­thing has does be done to pro­tect the chil­dren

“It’s not right. My moth­er has been feed­ing the chil­dren from the forests but she can­not take them in.”

Con­tact­ed for com­ment, chair­man of the Chil­dren’s Au­thor­i­ty Han­iff Ben­jamin said the Au­thor­i­ty has been work­ing with the Min­istry of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty to as­sist all chil­dren in T&T in­clud­ing those who were for­eign­ers

“We have a man­date to pro­tect all the chil­dren of T&T. We are a sig­na­to­ry to the Unit­ed Na­tions Rights of Child and we have a du­ty to pro­vide care and at­ten­tion to chil­dren as well as to pro­tect all chil­dren. The mech­a­nisms of the Chil­dren’s Au­thor­i­ty will kick in­to place to pro­vide help to the chil­dren

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