Archbishop Jason Gordon has asked citizens to see the common humanity, “people are people” and not ignite xenophobia towards Venezuelan migrants coming to Trinidad and Tobago.
In a video message posted on the Archdiocese Facebook page catholictt.org, he said xenophobia, “is a fire that does not go out easily and when we start targeting people because of their ethnicity, their race, their nationality or whatever it is they are doing then what happens is we set a fire and a hatred for a people and that can’t be right.”
Archbishop Gordon reminded citizens of the history with movement of persons for 200 years, Venezuelans coming to T&T in the 1800s and T&T nationals going to Venezuela in 1900s “when things were difficult”. He said, “We have a real crisis on our hands. We have a neighbour next door whose house has been in serious trouble.”
Observing this country has always been hospitable, he understood that the increased number of migrants would be a serious challenge however, a way must be found to be welcoming, protecting and caring. “To help people assimilate here,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge for the country and the Archbishop noted the impact which human trafficking—“people who are being paid to bring people”, could have. He said this is wrong but people had to ask themselves, “How do we care for people? How do we ensure the common good in Trinidad and Tobago is served?”
Referring to the plight of Venezuelans he commented, “our brothers and sisters, our neighbours are really in deep distress.”. He added, “We don’t serve the common good by treating people badly.”—LPG