After one week, thirty Venezuelans are still being kept at the Guyana Police Force’s Eve Leary office, as the Government seeks alternative accommodation for them.
“It is not the best place to have them,” Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix told reporters at the sidelines of an event on Wednesday at the Square of the Revolution, Georgetown.
On March 20, a total of 140 Venezuelan migrants boarded a vessel – the MV Kumaka – and travelled from Region One to Georgetown. So far, 110 of the migrants were picked up by relatives and friends who are residing on the coast.
Minister Felix noted that the International Office for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are supporting the efforts to find “house or rooms which can be rented and where they can stay.”
The Minister said one of the major concerns for the ministry is to protect the migrants from becoming victims of Trafficking in Persons and much effort is being expended in this regard.
“As you aware that migrants are very vulnerable and as such, we need to protect against that and much of our efforts is expended in that area, ensuring that…they are not put to any disadvantageous situation and they are not exploited,” Minister Felix said.
The Government had announced that it will be constructing a housing unit for the migrants but Minister Felix said this is yet to be completed.
“It is not going to be finished tomorrow though we want it ‘yesterday’ –that is converting the National service centre in Region One into a migrant centre where the ones who have nowhere to go, can be accommodated.”
There are currently over five thousand Venezuelans residing in Guyana according to the Minister. The persons were all registered with the Immigration Department and vaccinated by officials from the Public Health Ministry.