Georgetown, Guyana – (May 20, 2016) The Government of Guyana is closely monitoring the situation in neighbouring Venezuela since reports surfaced suggesting a possible refugee crisis. Yesterday, President David Granger said that Guyana is obligated to accept Guyanese who wish to return home.
“I am very concerned about what is taking place particularly the possibility of the involvement of the Venezuelan National Armed Forces and I hope that an orderly approach is taken for the security of the whole sub-region because it will have an impact on the Caribbean as well…Guyana has special interests because of the territorial issue but I think the whole region is concerned about is taking place in Venezuela and I hope that there wouldn’t be a resort to lawlessness,” the President said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Greenidge in an invited comment said there is no reason for undue alarm; noting that while authorities don’t foresee any massive cross-border movements in the immediate future, Guyana will, on the basis of an assessment of the way things are, take appropriate actions if the need arises.
“The Cabinet and Government have been alerted to these events that are unfolding but we are not of the view that you are going to get a massive flood of people… However, as a responsible Government, we are getting an assessment from our own authorities and from those in a position to advise,” the Minister said.
He explained that there is always movement across all of Guyana’s borders, which would dip and peak at varying periods but noted that, “from what know of Venezuela’s capabilities we believe that movement of people across the border are not likely to be of any magnitude that Venezuela’s authorities cannot handle, at least in relation to Guyana’s borders.”
When asked about any regional mechanisms that are in place to address this issue should it escalate, the Minister said that the Region has noted what is going on but the wider region captured by Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Organisation of American States (OAS), has not examined the situation with a view to intervene in the sense of putting in place any sort of arrangements because such actions does not seem necessary at this point.
Over the last three years, the Venezuelan economy has been on a downturn, which the political Opposition contends is the result of the poor policies implemented by the Nicolas Maduro-led Administration. Earlier this month, over a million citizens signed a petition demanding a referendum to remove the President, who last Friday declared a 60-days state of emergency in the Bolivarian Republic.