The Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs says Consular officials at the Trinidad and Tobago Embassy have indicated that the three local fishermen who were recently detained in Venezuela are currently housed with relatives in Tucupita.

It explains that the three fishermen are free to leave Venezuela on their own volition.

A media release from the Ministry this afternoon noted that on April 11th, 2018, the Embassy was informed by Venezuelan immigration authorities that the three fishermen appeared in court and were subsequently permitted to leave Venezuela upon receipt of a Certificate of Voluntary Abandonment of Venezuela which would allow them safe legal passage out of the jurisdiction.

The Venezuelan immigration authorities further agreed to release the fishing boat upon receipt of ownership documents (provided by the boat’s owner) through Mykell Sankar, a Trinidad and Tobago national resident in Venezuela and brother of one of the detainees Nicholas Hanjarie.

The Ministry made the necessary arrangements with the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard for the fishermen to be received in Trinidad and Tobago waters on Sunday, April 15.

Mr. Sankar confirmed the arrangements.

On Sunday morning, while the Coast Guard vessel was en route to the meeting point, the Embassy was informed of the cancellation of the arrangements.

The Ministry said that while all diplomatic avenues were pursued to secure the timely release of the detained fishermen, it was also necessary to ensure that the laws and procedures of Venezuela were fully respected and that due process was allowed to take place in accordance with these laws.