Migration services, database system boosted – Min. Benn

The government through the Ministry of Home Affairs has made significant strides in modernising its migration services and information and data collection systems since August 2020.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn Monday made the disclosure during the 69th Sitting of the National Assembly, stating that while no bill has been laid in parliament, the administration is looking at issues relating to migration policies.

Minister of Homes Affairs, Robeson Benn during the 69th Sitting of the National Assembly

Due to this strategic undertaking and consultation, the minister noted that a bill may emerge.

The home affairs minister was at the time responding to questions posed by Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), Tabitha Sarabo-Halley who inquired about whether the government had taken any steps to modernise the institutional and legislative framework associated with migration in Guyana since 2020.

“In respect of the institutional framework relating to migration, both the Immigration Department and the Immigration Services Department have been modernised [and] staffing has increased. The work that they are doing now…is being put on electronic platforms for proper recovery of information from the databases,” Minister Benn stated.

The minister explained that the government is working non-stop to ensure persons purporting to be migrants in Guyana are indeed immigrants, as opposed to what transpired during the previous APNU+AFC Government’s tenure.

“We inherited a situation where thousands of persons were coming through Guyana purporting to be migrants but not staying in Guyana…In 2019, 19,000 persons came into Guyana and cannot be accounted for.

“We do not want to repeat and we are working to ensure that the system is much better managed and is outside the influence of corruption at all levels.”

Meanwhile, speaking specifically on the issue of Venezuelan migrants, Minister Benn said the ministry is focused on establishing specific patrols to identify undocumented individuals, ensuring they are legally registered. 

He further highlighted that the ministry had called for all undocumented persons to be registered legally. As a result of this call, Minister Benn pointed out that the number of persons coming to be documented has tripled over the past few weeks, owing to the call made by the ministry.