Over 2,000 documented Venezuelans in Guyana; in need of housing & education

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Citizenship Minister, Winston Felix on Tuesday addressed Cabinet on the need for systems to be put in place to deal with housing and education for Venezuelan migrants.

This was disclosed in a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency which noted that the Government of Guyana has recorded 2,588 documented Venezuelan migrants in Guyana thus far.

Government had stated that it plans to establish a settlement area in Mabaruma, Region One for the migrants.

Minister Felix, according to the statement, travelled to Pomeroon-Supenaam (Region Two) where he pledged his Department’s support to migrants on the Essequibo Coast, particularly as it relates to documentation, since many of them cannot afford to travel to Georgetown.

Reporting on the fortnightly meeting of the Multi-Sectoral Coordinating Committee which was set up to ensure that Venezuelan migrants are properly documented, vaccinated and provided for, it was disclosed that “in recent weeks there has been a reduction in arrival at the various ports of entry.”

The statement from the Ministry noted that given the expansive and porous borders between Guyana and Venezuela coupled with limited resources, the Committee has been facing challenges.

The statement disclosed that the Ministry of Social Protection will be training a group of officers from the Departments of Citizenship and Immigration to arrest human trafficking.

“These officers will lead an intense sensitisation campaign geared at removing vulnerable individuals from exploitative situations,” the Ministry said.

The Committee has reached out to a significant number of the migrants, particularly those living in shelters in Region One – providing essential food and non-food items.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry announced last month that more lenient immigration policies and measures will be instituted to ensure that persons, who have come to Guyana to escape harsh economic and political conditions in their homeland, are not deported for illegal entry or overstaying.

Additionally, the Ministry of the Presidency said a policy will now have to be put in place to assess the proportionality of the qualifications and skills of the Venezuelan migrants to that of Guyanese to see how they can be placed in the local job market.

“This again, will ensure that their labour is not exploited and that Guyanese are not treated unfairly,” according to the statement.

This effort has been supported by various government agencies as well as international partners such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Earlier this week, Director General of the CDC, Lieutenant Col. Kester Craig told the News Room that more private sector support is welcomed to aid in providing for the migrants.

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