– Guyanese in the diaspora expected to return, new migrants likely
WITH the introduction of the oil and gas industry, Guyanese living abroad are expected to return and new migrants might seek opportunities in the country. As such, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) will be looking for ways to help the government manage migration.
“People are coming and there will be returning Guyanese who are looking for opportunities and taking advantage of an improved economic situation, so we would like to continue to work with the Government of Guyana to look at how we can manage migration and integrate incoming persons, assist returning Guyanese and facilitate their return,” said IOM’s Regional Coordination Officer for the Caribbean, Robert Natiello, during a recent interview with the Guyana Chronicle.
When oil production starts in 2020, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to increase, because of the increase in economic activities. This he believes can cause an influx of people who are looking for opportunities.
Guyana has already been cited as a transit and destination country, Natiello said, noting that the IOM has recorded cases of persons arriving from Cuba then undertaking an “irregular migration” route from Guyana to Chile and then north up to the United States of America (USA).
“I think we have seen and everyone is also cognisant of the issue of Haitians who are arriving, presumably [with] the intention of travelling to French Guiana where they may have family members and language affinity,” he said, adding that Suriname addressed a similar incident by implementing a visa requirement on Haitian citizens.
Suriname was the usual access point to French Guiana, but since the visa requirement was passed, there has been an influx of Haitians to Guyana.
In some cases, the IOM has provided translation support for Haitians who come here.
Although the organisation assists, it recognises the rights of a state and its sovereignty to determine who enters, how they enter and how long they stay. Basically, he said the IOM does not get involved in those decisions.
Despite being under scrutiny most times, migrants have rights — the right of the free movement of people which was established in the universal declaration of human rights. But states have the right of determining who enters the country and how long they stay.
Over the years, the IOM has been providing technical support to the Government of Guyana in the area of border management.