Government, international partners continue to provide support for Venezuelan migrants

Georgetown, Guyana – (October 9, 2018) As the Government of Guyana continues to work with its international partners to support Venezuelan migrants, 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.

This announcement was made at the fortnightly meeting of the National Multi-Sectoral Coordinating Committee, which, since its establishment by President David Granger, has been working tirelessly to ensure that Venezuelan migrants are properly documented, vaccinated and provided for, in terms of food and shelter. However, given the expansive and porous borders between Guyana and Venezuela coupled with limited resources, the Committee has been facing challenges.

While in recent weeks there has been a reduction in arrival at the various ports of entry, there are a total of 2,588 documented Venezuelan migrants in Guyana and through the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), the Committee has reached out to a significant number of them, particularly those living in shelters in Region One; providing essential food and non-food items.

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).

In addition to providing this type of support, last month, the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced 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.

Meanwhile, efforts are also being made to facilitate more long-term support. Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix explained that 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.

Last week, during a visit to the Pomeroon-Supenaam (Region Two), Minister Felix, after hearing of the challenges that migrants on the Essequibo Coast are facing, pledged his Department’s support, particularly as it relates to documentation, since many of them cannot afford to travel to Georgetown. He also addressed Cabinet today on the need for systems to be put in place to deal with housing and education for migrants.