…say they are punishing; no job, food in their country
More than a dozen Venezuelan refugees who fled to Guyana to avoid the worsening economic crisis in their country were on Monday fined and deported when they appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
Sources have confirmed that an additional 100 refugees are expected to be deported in the coming week.
Five mothers: Floris Garcia, 25; Erika Marza, 30; Lara Rodriguez, 26; Ellen Barose, 28; and Galaska Gellou, 22; as well as nine fathers (who are all miners): Esas Fergeaus, 21; Gabriel Enriques, 26; Moses Cabiro, 24; David Renguez, 24; Luis Paskino, 42; Ricardo Delagato, 28; Ramen Rodriguez, 32; Danny Diaz, 20 and Leonardo Linenduo, 32 pleaded guilty to the offence when it was read to them by the Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan.
The Prosecutor told the court that the group of Venezuelans illegally entered Guyana by sea in the vicinity of Eterinbang, Cuyuni River.
With the help of a translator, the refugees explained that they departed Venezuela with the hopes of finding jobs in Guyana to support their families back home.
The women explained that they were punishing in Venezuela since there were no jobs and only limited food available.
The men explained that it was a struggle to provide for their families in Venezuela; as such, they came to Guyana in search for work.
The Guyana Government had already declared that it has not yet considered the possibility of accepting refugees, but would take returning Guyanese.
President David Granger had told media operatives that while the situation in the neighbouring country was cause for concern, given the territorial controversy between the two countries, his Administration had not worked out a plan for dealing with refugees.
Nonetheless, Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips, has assured that the Army has been placed on high alert and is proactively monitoring the situation.
The economy of neighbouring Venezuela has been in crisis since the decline in oil prices on the world market and its people has been suffering.
In fact, the Mayor of Chacao, in Venezuela’s capital Caracas, had warned that neighbouring countries, such as Guyana, will suffer an influx of refugees from Venezuela as food shortages continue to prevail in the country.
Reports of rampant outbursts of looting and violence are also emerging from the Spanish-speaking nation.
(Kizzy Coleman and Devina Samaroo)