By Bibi Khatoon
Over 60 Venezuelans fleeing the worsening economic crisis in their country are looking to make a section of the Cuyuni-Mazaruni region their home.
The Venezuelans, who have Guyanese heritage, prefer not to live within existing communities and have requested permission to set up a village of their own.
Regional Chairman Gordon Bradford said the developments in the region, like many other communities which share a border with Venezuela, is a new challenge for the authorities.
So far, he said the group of persons was found occupying an area called Ekereku –an area along the Ekereku river, a tributary of the Cuyuni River.
“They’re people from Region Seven, their ancestors were people from Region Seven but most of them were born in Venezuela because they were living there with their parents and so on.
“Now because of the situation in Venezuela, they’re seeking to relocate to their homeland,” Bradford told the News Room.
News Room understands that three visits were made to the location by Health officials and the regional authority. The persons found occupying the area were provided food, clothing and tarpaulins.
Registration processes for some of the persons have also begun by the Ministry of Citizenship in collaboration with the Indigenous People’s Affairs Ministry.
The developments, Bradford said, are being monitored by both central government and local authorities.
“Once we get on top of it, we will seek to have whatever area they settled regularized and people registered and so on.
“We will take medical services to them and if the need arises that we have to construct a school or whatever, we will do that…that would depend on what unfolds,” he told News Room.
The provision of healthcare services to the new arrivals is putting a strain on local health facilities.
But Gordon suggested that the authorities are managing.
“I know our health department; they’re onto it and they’re taking all the measures, looking at vaccination of everybody,” Bradford stated.
The Chairman urged persons residing in the region to ensure that they are vaccinated against certain diseases and be prepared to show this to the Ministry of Health officials who may be doing impromptu visits.
According to international news reports, persons emigrating from Venezuela is Latin America’s worst refugee crisis.
Thousands of Venezuelans are seen pouring into Colombia and Brazil on a weekly basis while some are being deported from Caribbean countries which do not have the capacity to handle a sharp increase in their population.