Regional Chairman of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) Region One, Brethnol Ashley has declared that the most critical issue affecting residents in Region One relates to migrants from Venezuela.
He made this declaration while addressing the specially arranged meeting with a number of agencies and programme heads from Region One after a one day visit to his Region by the Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Four, Pauline Lucas.
The visit by Lucas and her team was geared towards establishing a collaboration between the two regions geared at addressing a number of concerns as a result of the increased influx of Venezuelans.
According to a statement issued by the Region 4 REO’s public relations department, the Regional Chairman stressed that his region severely lacks human resources adding that there continues to be a shortage of drugs and medical supplies as a result of the increased number of Venezuelans seeking medical and other attention.
Ashley reiterated to the visiting team his thanks and gratitude noting that whatever assistance that can be given would be welcome.
He said that taking into account the increased challenges and difficulties that officials within his region are forced to confront, the support being offered by RDC Region Four’s health sector is greatly appreciated.
The Region 1 RDC Chair also appealed to the Government to step up their security patrolling and presence at the borders stating that of recent there have been an increased number of threats.
“We have heard that there is a plan to hijack the ferry and this resulted in the ferry having to be escorted into here a few weeks ago because there were reports that the Sindicatos were planning an attack,” the Regional Chairman stressed.
He disclosed that the number of migrants continues to increase stating the need for a holistic response by the government of Guyana so as to alleviate a number of fears and concerns.
Ashley said figures presented to him just before the meeting indicates that there continues to be an increase in the number of Venezuelan migrants, while stressing that there is an urgent need for government to take appropriate action to lend valuable support, while at the same time protecting the interests of Guyanese.
“For White Water they are 640, in the community of Imberto there is 74, there is also a new community under the radar called Black Water Barima with 40, Khan Hill has 101, Kamwatta has 65 while Yarakita has 64 so the numbers tells its own story that indeed there is an increase,” Ashley said.
The Regional Chairman disclosed that several of the Venezuelans are also involved in the sale of illegal fuel which he said has fuel added concerns from the business community within the Coomaka area.
He disclosed that the Coomacka community being a primary business hub certainly will pose a number of problems. He stated that the RDC had constructed a living quarters for several of the migrants and with several activities taking place there, he foresees various challenges that will pose danger for not only the migrants but residents as well.
He revealed that there are serious sanitation related issues pointing out that several residents have complained about the Venezuelan migrants defecating in and around the community.
This, the Regional Chairman declared poses great challenges to several business owners who would see the migrants committing these acts openly. Further, he said that there is a serious and grave health concern as several of the migrants who are desperate for food have been seen raiding garbage bins in search for same.
With the economic crisis in Venezuela worsening, more and more of its citizens are feeling the country on a daily basis.