Venezuelan refugees…as Citizenship Minister acknowledges international partnersThe National Multi-Sectoral Coordinating Committee convened its last meeting for 2018 with various agencies seeking assistance to support the influx of Venezuelan refugees who settled across Region One (Barima-Waini) and other remote areas throughout the country.The International Organisation of Migration (IOM) would have collected data through its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) and this demonstrated that employment opportunities have topped the list of these migrants, along with necessary documentation for them to stay in Guyana.Nevertheless, Citizenship Minister Winston Felix pointed that the Committee is the underlying framework for managing the activities of the refugees and how materials are disbursed.He explained, “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 andCitizens Minister Winston Felixmonitoring the activities of the Venezuelan migrants. As long as they (migrants) are coming, this Committee has a job to do.”According to the Public Health Ministry, immunising all of these persons has placed an additional financial burden on an already taxed health sector to provide additional services at the level of primary healthcare delivery as well as in hospital settings.As such, calls were made for the establishment of a policy framework to tackle the migratory population and provisions to provide these services on a long-term basis.For now, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has been working with the Immigration Department to improve efficiency in terms of registration. A number of equipment such as biometric scanning devices, scanners and laptops were procured to aid immigration officers.Organisations such as Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) continue to lend both technical and financial support public agencies to deal with issues pertaining to migrants.Just two weeks ago, the Region One Chairman, Brentol Ashely had blasted the Government for failure to live up to their assurances, since there was no feedback on the promises that were made to assist these persons.The Chairman also explained for the past weeks, supplies were only donated by independent organisations and other agencies. However, when contacted, Head of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), indicated that they were “working” to supply materials at the earliest.The Government admitted earlier this year that immigration bodies have limited capacity in tracking immigrants after they arrive in Guyana, even though data is collected when many of them enter Guyana through the borders.