Georgetown, Guyana – (August 13, 2018) Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix, today, said that the Ministry of Citizenship in collaboration with the Mayor and Town Council of Mabaruma have identified a plot of land in Mabaruma for the establishment of a homestead settlement area or humanitarian centre for the registered Venezuelans, who are occupying areas in Barima-Waini (Region One). The Minister made this announcement at the conclusion of the fifth multi-agency coordinating committee meeting held at the Ministry of Citizenship, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown.

Minister Felix said the resettlement area, which will allow the Venezuelans to be self-reliant, is privately owned and that the Government will now have to initiate efforts to determine what arrangements can be put in place to acquire the land for the establishment of the centre.

The Minister also said that while this process is being undertaken, he has tasked the regional administration to set up a Regional Coordinating Sub-committee, which can take charge of the situation on the ground even as the agencies on the national committee continue to play lend the necessary assistance to those in the region.

Additionally, the Ministry of Public Health has established health posts in the affected areas, including at Mabaruma and Morawhanna and will, by the end of next week, establish one at Imbotero Village from which migrants and residents are being screened and vaccinated, while it is bolstering its presence in Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven). Refrigerators for the storage of vaccines at the locations have already been procured and will be dispatched and set up by the end of next week.

“[The Department of] Immigration is continuing the registration and support work… The Police [are] also following through with the support work to this committee. So, all agencies, locally, are locked into this committee to provide services and support for the Venezuelans in Guyana. We are also [examining] the situation in Region Seven [in order] to find out where [the Venezuelans] are and what numbers we have to [cater for],” he said.

Meanwhile, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has committed its support to addressing the migration of the Venezuelans and to help boost Guyana’s capacity to deal with such situations in the event of future occurrences.

Currently, the IOM is conducting work in gathering data on the migrants and observed trends through a Displacement Tracking Matrix in Regions 1, 2, 4 and 7 and has committed to developing a Terms of Reference (TOR) for a Consultant, who would review the various sectors’ current policies and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for dealing with migrants. The Consultant will also be tasked with the updating and/or development of these as well as the guidelines for emergencies, which can guide responses in the future.

The organisation will also be coordinating a capacity building session in ‘Migrants and Countries in Crisis’ for the members of the National Coordinating Committee as early as possible and capacity building in ‘Camp Coordination’ will be done after the details for the humanitarian centre are finalised. This training will target individuals who will be responsible for managing the centre.

Additionally, the Immigration Department has been tasked with providing a list of equipment that is needed and can be procured for migrant registration and document issuing while a Migrant Support Centre will be established in Region One to be housed at the Regional Democratic Council’s office.

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