Over 36,000 Venezuelans now in Guyana – mostly in Region One

— Region One chairman concerned about food, medical supplies.

Brentnol Ashley
Brentnol Ashley
The Chairman of the Regional Democratic Council told Stabroek News yesterday that food for migrant families continues to be in high demand. He observed that during 2019, the Civil Defence Commission was distributing food hampers to families but he has not observed any distribution for this year.       

He called on the agency to restart its distribution of food hampers to families in the area.

Recently, President David Granger announced that over 36,000 Venezuelan migrants have entered Guyana since the situation in Venezuela escalated. He disclosed the figure last Tuesday while accepting the credentials of Australia’s new non-resident High Commissioner to Guyana Bruce Lendon.

Granger said the Direct Aid Programme of Australia, which provided critical assistance in improving water, sanitation and health in indigenous communities, is being used to assist with the situation of Venezuelan migrants.

Meantime, Ashley told this newspaper that families have been taking up residence in close proximity to the wharves at Mabaruma and Kumaka. He said that government is aware of the situation in the region but little has been done to properly accommodate families.

“We have families here with no proper housing and the situation remains the same because we don’t have the resources to assist the families. We have young mothers and their babies with nowhere to go. It is still a big issue for us in the region and government has been dragging their foot on it,” Ashley disclosed.

He added that some families have also erected makeshift camps at open spaces in different communities.

The chairman said that a few non-governmental organisations, such as UNICEF and the International Organisation for Migration, have been assisting and have to date constructed several pit latrines at locations where the families have settled.

The RDC chairman also said that the presence of the families in the region is becoming burdensome to the health system. He noted that several Venezuelans are infected with malaria and have been visiting the health facilities in the region for treatment.

“We don’t have a problem assisting with the medical aid but the limited drugs that we have is not being replaced fast enough by the MMU [Materials Management Unit of the Ministry of Public Health]. If we use up the drugs on the Venezuelans, what are we going to have to treat our people [with] when they are ill? We are not having a steady supply and the medicine is depleting,” Ashley added.

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  • Trevor  On January 13, 2020 at 7:07 pm

    I have first-hand information that this will increase to 100,000 within the next five years if Venezuela keeps getting sanctions and collapsing.

    However, I don’t believe that we should hate them and act like the racist European nationalists.

  • Trevor  On January 13, 2020 at 7:12 pm

    SNobby Devanand Bhagwan • 3 hours ago

    U people are xenophobes. Wonder if Americans and Canadians had sent all those Guyanese back because they were becoming too many and were accessing free health care and other welfare benefits while being illegal? You had no problem with Guyanese breaking US and Canadian immigration laws so that they could have a better life.

    Do unto others bro. Stop being a small minded hypocrite.

  • Clyde Duncan  On January 13, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    There should be a plan to relocate the migrants to other Regions

    Do NOT burden Region One, exclusively.

  • brandli62  On January 14, 2020 at 2:49 am

    It is understandable that Venezuelans are flying their country given the total collapse of its industry and state services. Guyana has to date been very generous in accepting them as refugees in the country. I believe that per capita, it has accepted the most Venezuelan refugees (5% of the total population) than any other country in the world. My concerns stem from the fact that they are currently settling in Region 1, which is part of area that Venezuela is claiming as their own territory. Down the road this may lead to huge problems for the Guyanese government. Venezuela might at some point use the fact of a significant Venezuelan population present west of the Essequibo as a pre-context to further justify their claim to the territory. They might even find reasons to invade in order to protect their citizens. The next Guyanese government has to take this potential problem very seriously. The following is recommenced:

    1. Relocation of Venezuelan refugees from Region 1 to other regions east of the Essequibo.
    2. Measures need to be taken to avoid the formation of Venezuelan neighbourhoods or ghettos.
    3. Mandatory schooling of Venezuelan kids in the English language.
    4. Refugees have to understand that they will relocated to Venezuela once the political situation is resolved. Those that have found legal employment are exempt from relocation.
    5. Guyana needs to pass modern and fair refugee laws.

    • Trevor  On January 14, 2020 at 8:14 am

      Most of the Venezuelans are mothers and children. If they were mostly able-bodied, single and young men then we will have a cause of concern for potential militants.

      I estimate that if the sanctions are not resolved, I might have to count over 150,000 Venezuelans by 2025. This doesn’t even count the birth rates, which is somewhat higher than the world average. One mother has at least 3 or 4 children. By 2030, the 36,000 number would increase to 50,000 alone due to natural birth increases. So imagine 150,000 new migrants forming families and making children. The Venezuelan population would be 200,000+. Exxon knows this is happening…

  • Trevor  On January 14, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    1 HOUR AGO
    Baseman posted:
    Meh here Lots of Guyanese men finding love and marriage with these women.

    Even some married men leff dem wives for these Venezuelan women. Is sheer jhanjhat going on r***. Anyway, I have zero problems with the influx as long as it is sustainable. We having a third race in Guyana now call [Indo-Spanish].

    Someday they might outnumber [mixed race Indo-Guyanese]. Imagine visiting Guyana and being greeted with Buenos Dias Senor at the Airport.

    I can see Nehru going to Guyana for months at a time now.

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