Venezuelan migrants processed, released

Some of the Venezuelan migrants who arrived on Thursday at Tuschen (Gordon Mosely photo)

The dozens of Venezuelan migrants who were recently smuggled into Guyana have been processed by local immigration authorities and released into society, according to sources.

Some 80 migrants, including adults and children, had last week arrived in Guyana at Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and were almost immediately detained by police.

Reports are that they were fleeing social and economic hardships in their home country. Some of the migrants are Guyanese, who have returned home to their families.

Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn had told this publication that the boats on which the migrants arrived were to be seized but INews has been unable to determine the current status of the vessels.

Benn had also indicated that this recent group of migrants that landed on Guyana’s shores appear to have come from a “floating base” in the Atlantic Ocean.

“There are floating bases out there, with small patrol boats both coming through from the Waini and at the mouth of the Pomeroon River. There are a number of places where you have, for instance, inlets where you can go and not be observed. Whether they’re paddling or coming in a powered boat,” the Home Affairs Minister said.

“But other than that, in this case they appear to be coming well out in the ocean. And I know it would be a very difficult journey for them. It appears they would have been coming (from) well out in the ocean and there’s some talk about them laying up overnight at various places and then coming in to drop off people.”

Minister Benn noted that one of the complications the authorities have had to deal with, is the fact that many of these Venezuelan migrants already have family or/and friends residing in Guyana. Some of them even have Guyanese parentage.

Venezuelan migrants seeking refuge in Guyana are being encouraged to present themselves to immigration authorities to get registered in order to benefit from services offered by the Government.

Reports indicate that there are about 40,000 Venezuelan migrants residing in Guyana, however, only about 21,700 are officially documented.

Despite the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela and the case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Government of Guyana has taken a policy decision to offer humanitarian assistance to migrants fleeing from Venezuela.

President Dr Irfaan Ali has already indicated that his government is cautious of the possibility of foreign agents infiltrating the country under the guise of being migrants, but noted that systems are in place to ensure the nation’s national integrity remains protected.