Former Chief of Staff calls for urgent cap on Venezuelan refugees/migrants

Former Chief of Staff calls for urgent cap on Venezuelan refugees/migrants

Declaring that the planned referendum by the Venezuelan government on Guyana’s Essequibo region, poses a clear and present danger to the territorial integrity and national security of Guyana, retired Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Dr. Gary Best is urging the Government to immediately put a cap on the number of Venezuelan migrants/refugees allowed to enter Guyana.

In the past six months, Guyana has seen a flood of Venezuelan migrants arriving in the country at areas along the coastland and in communities across the Essequibo.

In an opinion piece, retired Rear Admiral Best reasoned that those who are coming into the country as migrants have already been educated by their government to believe that the Essequibo belongs to them.

“The Government of Guyana needs no further evidence of this clear and present danger to Guyana’s national patrimony, a duty, it is sworn to protect by virtue of holding executive power. While there is some government effort on the international front, which is our first line of defence, otherwise called defence diplomacy, protecting our citizens is of equal importance,” Dr. Best stated in and Op-Ed.

Dr. Best, suggested that a three-pronged approach is required to deal with the Venezuela issue.

He said that approach must include a national, international and judicial response.

A group of Venezuelan migrants just after arriving in Guyana

Dr. Best said Guyana’s submission and participation at the International Court of Justice has strengthened the country’s position on the issue, and he has also argued that the time has come for the government and people of Guyana to defend the patriotic submission at the ICJ and begin to thwart Venezuela’s subtle, overt, and reckless attempt at annexing sovereign Essequibo, or any other lesser part/portion Guyana by imposing an immediate cap on Venezuelan economic migrants/refugees entering Guyana.

“The government therefore needs to recalibrate and put an immediate cap on Venezuelan economic migrants/refugees, while the nation’s defence and security forces conduct internal vetting/investigative operations to identify and separate those with verified familial ties to Guyanese from those who are economic migrants/refugees,” Dr. Best stated.

Such a move he argued is not a threat to diplomacy but it is in the interest of national security.

Dr Gary Best is also an Executive Member of the Opposition, People’s National Congress.

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