I've been noticing the trends with respect to foreigners over the last decade or so
The Chinese population seems to be increasing consistently with all the new restaurants and variety stores opening up. They are the biggest and most obvious set of immigrants to Trinidad.
Latinos and Spaniards
The [Venezuelan] population seems to be wavering. From 1999 to 2005, there were loads of [Venezuelans] and [Hispanics] on the streets of Port-of-Spain. They seemed to have declined in number but now seem to be increasing again based on the Spanish speaking people that I hear about me. Two days ago, I met my first [Venezuelan] taxi driver and I chatted away in Spanish with him. In the back seat were three other Spanish speaking men so the entire car was Spanish speaking. I was proud to meet my first [Argentinian] here in the E.W.M.S.C. With an Italian surname. I asked him where he's from and then told me then I chatted away with him in Spanish. There are the usual [Cubans] in the Medical Complex.
There are [Spaniards] here in Trinidad which I find fascinating and some working with REPSOL and Caribbean Airlines and in the private sector. I saw this on the Spanish program "Espanoles en el mundo" (Spaniards around the world) where they did a Trinidad segment and interviewed the [Spaniards] here. I was amazed. One [Spaniard] claimed that they are confused with [Venezuelans] here but they all seemed to like it.
The Grenadian and Vincentian presence seems to be subtle and whilst I know that they are around, I can't say exactly how much. They integrate very subtly into the society. Immigration officials have always been acting favorably towards them.
I am also seeing Jamaicans like I've never seen them before.
I see a lot of [Afro-Guyanese] around. I don't see much [Indo-Guyanese] surprisingly though I know that they are here.
Americans, Canadians and British
I see people who look like northern [Europeans] walking around the malls and their numbers seem to be solid. There is already a thread on "White foreigners in Trinidad" and we know there's the oil expatriate crowd.
I used to go to a church that is run by a Nigerian and it attracted the [Africans] resident here. They are more tribal that patrifocal than we are in the [Caribbean]. I observed greater boldness on their part as well. I met some nice people though and I like their sense of humour. I met my first Zimbabwean last week which was nice and I see Botswanean students occasionally.
They seem to be doctors, lecturers and business owners. I have no idea of the continental [Indian] presence in Trinidad.
All in all, what have been your observations in immigration over the last decade and what have been your experiences with them? Do you think that it is good for Trinidad and Tobago?
Well, I must say that most people always assume I am either Venezuelan or Colombian. At first, being a proud Argentinian, it used to bother me a little bit but I got used to it.
There are lots of Venezuelans in the West, they are working in different sectors from construction to insurance and also IT.
Immigration is always good as long as the immigrants become productive members of society and don't come here to participate or engage in illegal activities.
To answer my own question, I think that immigration was necessary in the past to fill a lot of empty land space. Now it is unavoidable as people want to move for various reasons.
For example, there were some anti-chavista Venezuelans in Trinidad that signed some document called a "Firmato" against Hugo Chavez. They consequently couldn't find work there because he placed a restriction on all its signatories. They had to flee and some came here and I couldn't blame them.
Some Guyanese come due to the economic problems in their own country. Things are hard and they are forced to flee.
However, a down side to it is that there is more competition in the recipient nation for scarce jobs. Immigrants may not have a vision to develop the nation in which they are domiciled and they can remit a lot of money.
Trinidad, I believe can handle some immigration but if the immigrants are remitting too much money, it could drain us badly. I suspect some Chinese may be doing that and this needs to be investigated.
Yes, you are right and I suppose that's why it is better to ask rather than assume the nationality of someone based on the way they look. Often times, we could be really surprised at what they have to say.
I just heard from a Venezuelan that there are lots of Cubans in Port-of-Spain. We Trinidadians may hear them and assume that they are Venezuelans as we can't discern the differences in accent amongst Latin Americans.
Rumor has it that some are paramilitaries posing as civilians and that Kamla is allowing them in the country as she is in liaison with Fidel.
This seems to be the rumor amongst Venezuelans in this country.
Anybody has any idea why Cuban paramilitaries would be in Trinidad?
There have been lots of stories on the immigration issue over the last month especially in light of the deportation of the 13 Jamaicans. There were around 17 000 illegal Jamaicans here up until a few years ago and I concur with all the discussions on talk radio that all illegal immigrants should be deported whether they are from CARICOM member states or not.
There are also questions concerning the number of Chinese that we've got here in Trinidad and we are constantly seeing new Chinese businesses opening up all over the place. I'm amazed at the pace at which these foreigners go around the world and open up businesses.
Does anyone also notice new Syrians are here selling gyros?
Since the first poster made the post about the different races I can safely say that the number one immigrant nation is Venezuela followed closely by China. Where are all these people fitting? Where do they stay?