National coordination mechanism successfully managing influx of Venezuelan migrants -Minister Felix

Georgetown, Guyana – (November 5, 2018) Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix, today, commended the efforts of the National Multi-Sectoral Coordinating Committee in managing the influx of Venezuelan migrants; successfully averting potential crises that are symptomatic of migratory activities.

This Committee comprises various Government agencies and international bodies 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).

Taking into account that the influx of migrants was a relatively novel challenge that the Government was faced with, the Committee’s work has significantly stabilised the situation by ensuring that assistance is directed to where it is most needed.

Coordination with the international agencies has also paved the way for the acquisition of food and other relief items and the introduction of helpful tools such as the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), which hitherto, was not available to the Government.

“Support from the international community assisted us in brining focus to a number of areas… These sessions [fortnightly Committee meetings] bring together a number of issues which can enable us to plan and move forward with our administration of migrants.  When we started, all we knew was that people were assembling here and there, but since then we have been able to provide some sort of temporary shelter for some, while others have been finding shelters for themselves… The coordination has been extremely useful in creating an understanding of what the migrant issues are, what the Government is doing and what the international community is doing,” Minister Felix explained.

However, he also said that there is no room for complacency at this stage; noting that there are still areas that require much more work, particularly as it relates to the settling of migrants in the Barima-Waini (Region One).  “This is a work in progress. My assessment is that both the international agencies and us, have been sharing information and we understand the challenges out there,” the Minister pointed out.

Meanwhile at today’s Committee meeting, it was disclosed that the current number of documented migrants stands at 2,943. These persons have also been screened and vaccinated by personnel from the Ministry of Public Health.