Measures in place to assist returning Guyanese, Venezuelans seeking refuge


By Bibi Khatoon

As a result of the economic crisis in Venezuela, a number of Guyanese who would have migrated to the Spanish-speaking country along with Venezuelans are seeking refuge in Guyana –most times in Amerindian communities along the border.

On Wednesday afternoon, it was disclosed that the Government of Guyana is working with those persons to have them settled here legally.

During a press conference at the Guyana Forestry Commission’s training centre, Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Sydney Allicock said the administration is aware of returning Guyanese and Venezuelans not only in Regions One and Seven, but even Regions Eight and Nine as well.

“From a humanitarian point, we can’t just give up on them,” Minister Allicock said.

The Minister disclosed that the Ministries of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Citizenship, Social Cohesion and Public Security are addressing the matter.

Venezuelans in Lethem, Region 9. [Irfaan Ali photos]

The Minister told reporters that Guyanese who are returning home are welcomed as long as their documents are in order while “those who are saying that they are Guyanese through Guyanese parentage, as long as there is evidence, all efforts are being made to regularize them by late registration and things like that.”

He further noted that efforts are being made to assist Venezuelans who are seeking refuge.

The APNU+AFC Government recently established various army outposts within communities along the country’s border with Venezuela. The move followed several reports of harassment of residents from Venezuelans and also reports of gangs within the communities and surrounding areas.

In one instance, a video of a man who was said to be Guyanese, being dismembered was circulated on social media.

Minister Allicock told reporters that “we are aware of the issues like the Syndicatos and other rebel groups over in Venezuela (and) we have been following and working closely with the military and the police.”

Vice Chairman of the National Toshaos Conference, Lennox Shuman pleaded with all Guyanese to exercise compassion while being vigilant.

“Try not to abuse or capitalize on people’s sufferings because we have a moral obligation to humanity and to be able to take that very seriously,” the Vice Chairman said.

Executive Member of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Irfaan Alli recently shared on his public Facebook page, photos of 25 Venezuelans living in makeshift camps in Region Nine. The group included women and children who have fled their home country.

He appealed to the Government to look into the matter as he raised not only concern for the Venezuelans but also the health implications for Guyanese in those areas.

Some persons have offered assistance to the Spanish speaking nationals.

Minister Allicock on Wednesday said there are limited resources available to the ministry but efforts are being made to look into the issue.



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