–in bid to regularise influx here of remigrant Guyanese, Venezuelan refugees
A DELEGATION from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Citizenship will be visiting the town of Puerto Ordaz close to the Venezuelan border with Guyana next weekend.
The five-day visit is in keeping with a government decision to ensure a more effective response to Guyanese wanting to come home and Venezuelan looking to seek refuge here.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon told reporters at a media briefing on Thursday that the purpose of the July 12 – 16 visit is to assess what services are being provided in Puerto Ordaz by the Government of Guyana for those of its citizens domiciled there.
The visiting team, he said, will be led by Ms Barbara Halley, Director of the Department of Frontiers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and that consular services in Venezuela is somewhat similar to what obtains in Suriname, whereby there is an embassy in the capital, Paramaribo, and a consulate office in Nickerie where many Guyanese live.
Minister Harmon said information coming out of Puerto Ordaz seems to suggest that there is a large number of Guyanese living in the area, as much as 15,000 to 20,000 persons.
“And so, wherever Guyanese citizens live, we are looking at providing better consular services to them,” he said, adding that another objective of the visit is to ensure that better systems are in place to attend to the needs of persons in the area.
Many persons, among them returning Guyanese and Venezuelan nationals, have been travelling to Guyana in large numbers in recent months as the Bolivarian Republic’s economy continues to tumble.
According to Forbes Magazine, more than 600,000 Venezuelans have already fled their country and sought asylum in Colombia.
For many Venezuelans, the monthly government handout of basic food supplies is the only thing keeping them from starving. It was noted that this year, Venezuela’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to contract by double digits for the third consecutive year.