Georgetown, Guyana – (December 17, 2018) The National Multi-Sectoral Coordinating Committee, today, convened its last meeting for 2018, as the Government, with the support of its international partners, continues to manage the influx of Venezuelan migrants and make provisions accordingly.
Speaking at his Shiv Chanderpaul Drive office, Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix said that “Once the Venezuelans are arriving, we will continue to work…hadn’t it been for a forum like this the information we received would have been isolated. When it is brought here, we are better able to make decisions on how best to address the issues…this Committee is central to coordinating and monitoring the activities of the Venezuelan migrants. As long as they (migrants) are coming, this Committee has a job to do.”
Over the past several months, against many challenges, particularly as it relates to the country’s porous borders, this national body has worked assiduously to streamline the arrival of migrants; ensuring that they are properly documented and immunised in keeping with the legal requirements. This feat, according to the Public Health Ministry, has placed an additional financial burden on an already taxed health sector to provide additional services at the level of primary health care delivery as well as in hospital settings. The Ministry is now calling for the development of policy guidelines to address migration population and a long-term strategy to transition the current response into routine service delivery.
Meanwhile, data collected by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) through its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) revealed that employment opportunities and/or income generating activities top the list of needs of migrants at this time. This is followed by assistance for documentation.
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on the other hand, is working closely with the Immigration Department to improve efficiency in terms of registration. To this end, the UNHCR has procured a number of equipment including biometric scanning devices, scanners and laptops to aid immigration officers at the various ports.
Similarly, organisations such as Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) continue to lend technical and financial support to enhance capacities of various public agencies to deal with issues pertaining to migrants. Minister Felix in expressing his gratitude, noted that the efforts and progress that have been made as a country and as a Government is due largely to the support of these international bodies.
The Committee will resume its fortnightly meetings on January 7, 2019.