The Government intends to construct humanitarian centres in the Barima Waini Region and will be seeking international help to respond to the large amounts of Venezuelans who are crossing the border to enter Guyana.
“We are going to build facilities to respond to where the Venezuelan citizens are coming from,” Minister of State Joseph Harmon told reporters at a post-cabinet press briefing Monday.
The centres, he said, will be constructed in Region One – where the majority of Venezuelans are arriving.
A multi-agency committee, comprising the Ministries of Citizenship and Health as well as the Guyana Police Force (GPF), will be pursuing the establishment of these centres which will be controlled by the Government.
Hundreds of Venezuelans have been migrating to Guyana, fleeing the social and economic crisis in the homeland.
The Government has already provided them with food, clothing and free medical care. Those who crossed the border illegally were not persecuted, instead, authorities are on a mission to have all of the migrants registered.
Minister Harmon says a major challenge in dealing with this mass migration is the lack of communication owing to the difference in language. As such, he said efforts are being made to create posters with Spanish writings in order to communicate with the Venezuelans.
Apart from Region One, Venezuelans have been settling in Region Seven but in smaller numbers.
The State Minister noted that at this stage in Region Seven, the regional authorities are handling the matter.
“When it becomes a bigger issue, we will respond,” he said.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has already pledged $6.2M to help Guyana to assist the Venezuelans.
The Guyana Government has taken a humanitarian approach to this issue, as has many countries in the region that have been accepting the Venezuelans.
But Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge made it clear that Venezuelans who seek refuge should use official points of entry.