Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge is pleading with residents of Rupununi in Region 9 to be patient as they deal with the influx of Venezuelans into Guyana.
He was at the time responding to questions raised at a Ministerial engagement in the region at the weekend.
Greenidge reminded those present that a few years ago Guyanese were the ones fleeing to the Spanish speaking country.
“For the Guyanese, let me say this to you, please do not forget that the borders that you find across the bridge and elsewhere along the river are borders that have seen Guyanese moving out of Guyana in the past. So you have to be patient and understanding because until now, you have been the main set of people moving across those borders,” the Minister told the residents gathered at the meeting.
According to the National Multi-Sectoral Coordinating Committee set up by the Government to monitor the situation, there are currently 4, 421 Venezuelan migrants in Guyana.
A new Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) conducted by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM)in the Pomeroon-Supenaam and Cuyuni- Mazaruni Regions (Regions Two and Seven) showed a continuation of the trend of the migrants being mostly females between the ages 18-30.
As such, income generation and employment opportunities remain at the top of the list of needs of migrants.
The Foreign Minister noted that the Government is faced with challenges to provide adequate accommodation for the migrants but they cannot be turned away. He urged skilled persons to assist the migrants who have settled in Regions 1, 2, 7 and 9.
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday announced it will be working with the Government of Guyana to expand schools in the bordering regions with Venezuela so that migrant children can have access to a proper education.
Even as Guyana continues to accept Venezuelans into its territory, the two countries are still fighting a border case at the level of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
On March 29, 2018, Guyana filed its application with the court requesting that body to consider and confirm the legal validity of the arbitral award.
The ICJ considered the application and invited Guyana to submit its memorial by November 20, 2018, while Venezuela has until April 19 this year to respond.
Responding to questions raised, the Foreign Minister said Guyana is confident of a win.
“The point is we have no worries because we know we will win that case,” he noted.
However, he noted that talks are ongoing to address the Spanish-speaking country’s actions since the case was taken to the ICJ.
“Venezuela seems to be trying to…they can’t get the lands by way of the court, they are trying to get the oil by way of use of military force and that is what we now have to deal with. We are working on that with assistance from other countries and use of diplomacy and the United Nations,” the Minister disclosed.
He was at the time referring to efforts by Venezuelan military in December to board an oil survey ship in Guyanese waters. The Norwegian registered vessel – Ramform Tethys – was contracted by ExxonMobil to conduct surveys in the Stabroek block where over five billion barrels of oil was discovered.
In the course of the Rupununi visit, Minister Greenidge also engaged with residents of Karaudanau and Sand Creek on other matters of national importance.
These included the no-confidence vote and its implications for governance, the national development policy, as well as the prospects of the petroleum sector and its impact on the infrastructure and development of human and material resources across the country.