GEORGETOWN, Guyana Guyana will, on humanitarian grounds, assist Venezuelans and persons of other nationalities should they find themselves fleeing from their countries as a result of economic turmoil or political persecution. However, President David Granger said, assistance will not be done haphazardly.
He said: “We are not going to simply open our borders to people who are causally drifting in…but if there is evidence of political persecution or economic deprivation, we are prepared to give favourable consideration to this.”
Speaking on his televised programme, “The Public Interest,” the President said last week that Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, has been apprised of Government’s position on the matter, and will act accordingly.
The President described migration as a “very ticklish problem”, and noted that Guyana will continue to be guarded on the subject, as the country will not entertain or house sinister characters.
“We don’t want to have people who are guilty of any wrongdoings or involved in terrorism coming into our country,” President Granger said.
“From a humanitarian point of view, once we find migrants who are fleeing economic or political persecution and (they) are willing to abide by our laws, we are prepared to give favourable consideration to them,” he said, noting that there are Venezuelan gangs that have been terrorizing some of our indigenous people in Region 7 (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).
“We have to be careful. Yes, we are, on humanitarian grounds, willing to accept people from Venezuela or anywhere, but at the same time we have to protect our people from abuse,” the President declared.
The past few weeks have seen a number of Venezuelans being placed before the courts and deported for entering Guyana illegally. On Tuesday, two Venezuelan females were fined by City Magistrate Leron Daley for entering Guyana illegally. The duo were charged separately for entering Guyana illegally by sea on August 9 at Eteringbang, Cuyuni River, and disembarking without presenting themselves to an immigration officer.
The women pleaded guilty to the charge and were fined $30,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment. Weeks before Tuesday’s case, 14 Venezuelans were fined and deported after entering Guyana illegally in search of betterment.