PORT OF SPAIN/CARACAS (Reuters) – Trinidad and Tobago’s Coast Guard said a Venezuelan migrant infant died in a security operation on Saturday when a vessel illegally crossed the maritime border, prompting the Caribbean nation to offer condolences.
In a statement on Sunday night, the Coast Guard said one of its patrol ships ordered the vessel to stop and later fired at the vessel’s engines in an attempt to force it to halt, only later discovering that it was carrying migrants on board.
“Further checks discovered one (1) adult female who was holding an infant who she indicated was bleeding,” the statement said, adding the woman was taken to a local health facility. “Regrettably, the infant was found unresponsive.”
Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley said he had spoken with Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez about the incident and hoped for better future cooperation between Trinidad’s Coast Guard and Venezuela’s National Guard.
“I expressed my deepest sympathy on my own behalf and of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago with respect to the unfortunate loss of life of the baby,” Rowley said in a statement on Sunday night.
Venezuela’s information ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
At least 40,000 Venezuelans live in Trinidad and Tobago, many of whom arrived in small overloaded boats, among an estimated 6 million Venezuelans who have left their country during its economic collapse.
(Reporting by Linda Hutchison-Jafar in Port of Spain and Vivian Sequera in Caracas, writing by Brian Ellsworth, editing by Mark Heinrich)