Privately owned land identified for Venezuelan homestead settlement- Govt

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Members of the multi-agency coordinating committee during their meeting

A plot of land has now been identified in Mabaruma, Region one (Barima-Waini) for the establishment of a homestead settlement area for registered Venezuelans residing in the said region.

Citizenship Minister, Winston Felix who collaborated with the Mayor and Town Council of Maburuma made the announcement on Tuesday.

The decision was made during the fifth multi-agency coordinating committee meeting held at the Ministry of Citizenship, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown.

The identified land however, is said to be privately owned and now has to be acquired by Government for the humanitarian centre to be established.

Additionally, the Public Health Ministry has already set up a number of health posts in areas such as Mabaruma and Morawhanna with one soon to be established in the settlement of Imbotero where the Venezuelan migrants are being screened and vaccinated.

“[The Department of] Immigration is continuing the registration and support work… The Police [are] also following through with the support work to this committee. So, all agencies, locally, are locked into this committee to provide services and support for the Venezuelans in Guyana. We are also [examining] the situation in Region Seven [in order] to find out where [the Venezuelans] are and what numbers we have to [cater for],” Felix said in a statement.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has since committed to lending its support to assist Guyana to deal with the situation.

Additionally, the Immigration Department has been tasked with providing a list of equipment that is needed and can be procured for migrant registration and document issuing while a Migrant Support Centre will be established in Region One to be housed at the Regional Democratic Council’s office.

Felix in July, said plans are in motion for the establishment of a homestead settlement area for the 260 confirmed Venezuelans, who are occupying areas in Barima-Waini (Region One).

Felix said that the resettlement area will allow the Venezuelans to be self-reliant.

“It is intended that we [will] develop something like a homestead where families are accumulated and eventually we can move them into cash crop farming. We can encourage that so that in the first instance they can feed themselves and if they have surpluses they can sell. We are looking at crops for their sustenance and their immediate needs. Once you get that…going then the next thing is to guide them into areas in which they can sustain themselves. The immediate outcome is that we want to see them properly settled and they must be able to sustain themselves…,” he had said.

Rather than criminalise the Venezuelans, Government said it has chosen to respond to the situation in a humane manner, with concern for the safety, health, and accommodation of the migrants.

The mass exodus of Venezuelans seeking refuge in neighbouring countries is linked to the country’s economic crisis that has left many of its citizens suffering severe shortages of food and medicines despite sitting atop the planet’s biggest proven oil reserves.

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