but Venezuelan refugees will not be criminalised
GUYANA is not looking to relax its immigration laws in light of the economic crisis in Venezuela, but at the same time it will not criminalise those crossing its borders in search of refuge.
That’s the word from Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge during a press conference here on Monday where the matter was raised.
His reaction was in response to a recent BBC report saying that eleven Latin America countries have agreed to allow Venezuelans leaving their homeland to enter their countries with expired travel documents. Those countries are: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
As Minister Greenidge told reporters, the Guyana Government is not considering joining the bandwaggon, but will instead facilitate fleeing Venezuelan migrants, given their current circumstance.
“We’ve decided that what the law requires of persons when that happens is that you apprehend the person; that they’re persecuted and deported, unless they have a good excuse,” he said, adding:
“Given the circumstances and the numbers involved, there is a certain empathy with those who are forced to move by the [effects] of difficulty on their side, and so we decided that we will not criminalise those who have crossed without any ulterior motive.
“What we do is when we find them, we require that they go and get their health checked, and that they formally register so that we can take them to the nearest point and go through the formalities.”