Working on it: Security minister Hinds supports amending T&T's immigration laws to bolster Soca Warriors talent pool, World Cup chances

By Sports Desk July 10, 2024
Soca Warriors Head coach Angus Eve (right) welcomed the development. Soca Warriors Head coach Angus Eve (right) welcomed the development.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds says his ministry is open to assist in amending the country’s immigration laws, to bolster the Soca Warriors talent pool and improve their chances of securing FIFA World Cup qualification.

Hinds declaration was a response to calls made by senior Soca Warriors Head coach Angus Eve and former Soca Warriors captain Dwight Yorke, for a possible review of citizenship laws, to allow for heritage players to represent the twin island republic.

Currently, chapter two, section 17 (ii) of Trinidad and Tobago’s Constitution states that “A person shall not become a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, if at the time of his birth – (a) neither of his parents is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Both Eve and Yorke expressed views that Trinidad and Tobago’s laws, which limits representation to players whose parent(s) have Trinidad and Tobago lineage, places them at a disadvantage, as other Caribbean territories are capitalizing on heritage players whose grandparents have local lineage.  

Hinds concurred, and pointed out that discussions have already been had with Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe and Attorney General Reginald Armour regarding the matter.

“I certainly heard from the sports minister and AG, this is a matter that arose around us. National security is very open to any policy shifts that might emanate from the sports ministry in this regard. And it is the AG as the government’s legal adviser who will draft any necessary amendments to the immigration act or whatever might be necessary to facilitate that,” Hinds told T&T Newsday.

Having participated at the 2006 World Cup, Trinidad and Tobago has a grand opportunity to make another appearance at the 2026 global showpiece to be hosted jointly by Concacaf powerhouses United States, Mexico and Canada.

With those team not involved in qualifying, the Soca Warriors could secure one of three automatic spots to the tournament. They have already started the qualifiers with 2-2 and 7-1 scorelines against Grenada and Bahamas respectively.

They are scheduled to face St Kitts and Nevis and Costa Rica when qualifying resumes next year.

“If there is anything we can do to enhance that (the country’s sporting success) we most certainly would. The Minister of Sport did raise that matter with me and she is aware that she has the full support of this minister representing national security. We do nothing passively. We are very active on the job and in service of the people of TT,” he added.

Meanwhile, Eve welcomed the fact that the change is somewhat in motion, as he believes it will not only benefit sport, but all other sectors.

“If they are reviewing it for the betterment of, not just for football but for everyone as a whole in the country because there are a lot more professional people who can come back into the country in different capacities to continue in the development of TT,” Eve said.

“If it is looked at, it could possibly enhance what we do in TT by getting more professional people, whether it be sports, business or anything. It wouldn’t only augur well for sport, but holistically. It broadens our talent pool in different fields; people who can give back to the country that their parents or grandparents were born in,” he reasoned.

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