Within recent times, the Venezuelan migrant crisis has dominated the international and local media. Over the past year in particular, there have been waves of arrivals of Venezuelans into Trinidad, driven in large part by the collapse of the economy and deteriorating living conditions. Many of them have sought employment in different areas of both Trinidad and Tobago. Given Venezuela’s global reputation as a major player in the oil and gas industry, there has been concern in some quarters about Venezuelans coming to work in the energy industry, particularly the petrochemical sector and displacing locals.
A point to note is that in order to work on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate and at Atlantic, all workers need to be certified in basic levels of safety. This is a basic requirement without which, a person will not be allowed to work in a petrochemical facility.
The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago (Energy Chamber), through its Learning Centre based at Atlantic Plaza in Point Lisas, provides basic health and safety courses which, once successfully completed, allow workers to be certified to work on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate. A PLEA Pass Card is issued on completion.
The Energy Chamber tracks basic data about persons who pass the exam through this programme, including their nationality. From May 2016 to May 2019, there have been 48,679 persons completing the PLEA exam. The vast majority of persons who sit the exam are Trinidad and Tobago nationals with 98.6 per cent of persons completing the exam.
Over the same period of time, only 0.2 per cent of persons completing the exam were from Venezuela.
The data shows that there was a significant decline in Venezuelan nationals acquiring PLEA passes since 2016. However, it should be noted that there was an increase from 2018 to 2019. In 2018, only eight Venezuelan nationals acquired the certification, and in 2019 (to date), only 11 Venezuelan nationals have passed the exam.