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80 smuggled Venezuelans remain in Police custody

Some of the Venezuelan migrants who arrived on Thursday at Tuschen

Smuggled onto Guyana’s shores on Thursday, some 80 Venezuelan nationals have been detained by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) after they arrived at Tuschen on the East Bank of Essequibo.
The Venezuelans which included children, arrived in Guyana on Thursday through the Atlantic Ocean – one of the common routes taken by refugees to flee the current deprivations in their homeland.
A video surfaced on social media, showing scores of persons disembarking from a large boat with their belongings. They fetched their bags onto the seawall along the West Coast of Demerara (WCD). Also, in their possession were over 200 fighting fowls. They were taken into Police custody.
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.
Registration is made easy through the implementation of “roaming immigration officers” who traverse the areas usually populated by migrants and offer registration and extension of stay services remotely. This process is focused on regularisation and prevention or reduction of these migrants being vulnerable to trafficking, and sexual and labour exploitation.
In Guyana, all children of migrants, legal and illegal, from Venezuela and other countries are allowed full access to be enrolled in the public school system within the host communities, and benefit from Government-funded support programmes including school feeding programmes, school uniform vouchers, and the “Because We Care” cash grants given to all students.
Reports indicate that there are about 40,000 Venezuelan migrants residing in Guyana, with only 21,704 officially documented.
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Hugh Todd convened a meeting of the Multi-Agency Coordinating Committee to address the influx of migrants from Venezuela into Guyana a few months ago.
The meeting was attended by key Government stakeholders along with international partners during which ongoing efforts to bring humanitarian assistance to those migrants from Venezuela were examined. The Government’s response to the migrants includes registration and regularisation services, socio-economic and cultural integration into the Guyanese society and the provision of healthcare and education for migrant children.
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.
Noteworthy is that a significant number are the Warraus, one of the Indigenous groups from Venezuela whose sister group of Warraus live in Guyana in Region One (Barima-Waini), close to the border. The Government has put on record that this group poses the greatest concern from a health and socio-economic perspective.
According to a February 2023 document on Guyana’s response to a call for inputs on the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, it was explained that the current border management measure in place is for immigration authorities to register migrants from Venezuela, and grant extensions of stay to those migrants who do not wish to return to their respective countries due to political and economic challenges or fear of returning for any other reason/s.