Govt should proceed with Venezuela refugees cautiously – Rohee

first_imgAs Guyana continues to closely monitor the crisis situation in neighbouring Venezuela, former Home Affairs Minister and General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Clement Rohee has advised that Government consider all factors when making a decision on the matter particularly as it relates to the refugees.????????????????????????????????????Speaking at the Party’s weekly press conference on Monday, Rohee said that Government would have to take a holistic approach in addressing the matter.“We have to be careful that we don’t press a panic button into convincing ourselves that we are going to see a flood of persons coming across the border from Venezuela, in whatever shape, form or fashion,” he stated.According to Rohee, Government will have to bear in mind firstly, that there was a time when many Guyanese left the shores of this country and went to settle in bordering towns of Venezuela. He explained that there were thousands of Guyanese still living in that part of Venezuela who have since made their lives in the Spanish-speaking country without little or no interference from the Venezuelan Government.“I don’t recall instances where the Venezuelans have actually chased them (Guyanese) out from the country or prevented them from coming in. Somehow, it has always been that culture of cross-border movement between ourselves and Venezuela,” he noted.The PPP General Secretary went on to say that while the ‘cross-border culture’ as it relates to movement of Guyanese to Venezuela and Venezuelans to Guyana is prevalent, Guyana has to take into consideration the situation currently in Europe with respect to refugees and immigrants from Iraq and Syria going into Europe.“So in the present-day context and the historical context, we have to exercise great care and caution in relation to addressing this issue,” he remarked.Moreover, the former Home Affairs Minister outlined that the issue with refugees was never as “black and white” as it seemed. He pointed out that Guyana was not a member of the United Nations High Commission of Refugees or Convention of Refugees, and that had its own implications.Last Thursday, when asked whether Government would be willing to accept refugees from Venezuela, President David Granger told Guyana Times that his Administration has not considered this issue as yet.“We do not have any agreement with Venezuela about other refugees (coming here) and that is not something that we have considered… (but) we have an obligation to accept returning Guyanese if they want to re-enter the land of their birth,” he told this newspaper.”Moreover, the Guyanese Head of State pointed out that the situation in the neighbouring country was cause for concern, given the territorial controversy between the two countries. He said too that the issue would also affect the wider Caribbean as well.“I am deeply concerned about what is taking place in Venezuela; plus Guyana has a special interest because of the territorial question, but I think the whole Region is concerned about what is taking place in Venezuela and we hope that there is not going to be a resort to lawlessness… I hope that a legal and orderly approach is taken for the security of the whole sub-region because it will have an impact on the Caribbean as well,” Granger stated.With the Venezuelan economy deteriorating, it is expected that there would be a refugee crisis in the Region as persons from the Spanish-speaking country were likely to flee to neighbouring nations.Meanwhile, Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Mark Phillips is reported as saying that he is monitoring the situation in Venezuela and is prepared to protect Guyana’s border if the need arises.Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro recently declared a state of emergency as the country experiences economic turmoil following the decline of oil prices on the world market over the past months. Reports coming out of the Spanish-speaking nation reveal that there is a massive food shortage and limited access to basic healthcare and amenities such as electricity.Reports of rampant outbursts of looting and violence are also emerging from the neighbouring country.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *