Opposition sounds alarm over growing number of undocumented Venezuelan migrants and Government’s “relaxed” posture

Opposition sounds alarm over growing number of undocumented Venezuelan migrants and Government’s “relaxed” posture

The Opposition APNU and AFC today expressed grave concern over the influx of Venezuela migrants who have been moving into the country, without any proper screening being done.

During a press conference today, Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton, said the issue is now at crisis level.

Mr. Norton said it is estimated that as many as 35,000 Venezuelan migrants are now in Guyana, pointing out that the number exceeds the population of Region One.

Mr. Norton said while Guyana welcomes migrants in keeping with international law, the country’s national security and integrity is now under threat.

“Most of these refugees now reside in our sparsely populated hinterland regions, should they become a majority in any sizeable area of our territory, Guyana could face a threat of possible annexation of these areas by Venezuela,” Mr. Norton warned.

Mr. Norton said by not properly screening those coming into the country, Guyana runs the risk of letting spies and agents of Venezuela into the country, warning of the possibility that they could infiltrate the country’s political and security apparatus.

Registration of Venezuelans

But even with the threat to the country’s territorial integrity, Mr. Norton said there is also a threat pose to the country’s electoral system. He said his party has received credible evidence that government operatives have been registering Venezuelans in the hinterland.

While agreeing with Mr. Norton, Leader of the Alliance For Change, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan said the practice of giving Venezuelan birth certificates, so that they can obtain an ID card presents an imminent danger to political stability in the country.

He said that his party’s representatives in hinterland regions have reported that there is an active registration of Venezuela migrants in the far-flung areas.

He said the Opposition plans to investigate what is happening in those areas.

“This is not only a threat, it is the opinion that the Alliance For Change and myself and the Leader of it, that this constitute an imminent danger t political stability and also electoral integrity,” Mr. Ramjattan said.

Norton and Ramjattan said they remain firm in their view that the government’s approach to the migrant issue is relaxed.

According to the political leaders, serious intelligence work needs to be carried out on the border regions with Venezuela so that there is monitoring of what occurs in those areas.

Additionally, the Opposition wants a sit down with the Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Omar Khan, to be updated on what appears to be a growing threat to the country from bordering regions.

The Opposition has also issued a call for a full briefing of the parliamentary political parties.

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