Venezuelan women deported after illegally entering country

- said they came for food, medication

Two Venezuelan women, who said they came on a quest for food and medication for their families, were yesterday ordered deported for illegally entering Guyana.

Johannelya Acevedo, 32, and Adriana Carolina Ruiz, 26, were read separate charges when they appeared in Georgetown before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, who eventually discharged them after they explained their circumstances.

The charge against Acevedo stated that on June 28, at Eteringbang, Cuyuni River, Essequibo, she entered Guyana by sea and disembarked without the consent of an immigration officer.

Ruiz was read a similar charge, which stated she entered Guyana illegally on the same day and at the same place as her countrywoman. With the aid of a translator, they both pleaded guilty to the charges.

According to the facts presented by Police Prosecutor Arvin Moore, on July 21, Acevedo and Ruiz left the interior and were arrested by the police at the Itaballi Police Outpost. It was then observed that they were Venezuelan nationals. They were subsequently arrested and the Central Immigration Office was alerted. Information was later received that there was no evidence to show that the women had presented themselves to the immigration authority. As a result, they were charged.

When asked by Chief Magistrate McLennan if they had anything to say, Avecedo said that while she was sorry she had entered the country illegally, her only reason for doing so was to provide for her four children back home.

Ruiz said the reason why she had come to Guyana was to obtain food for her family and for medication. She added that the situation in her country is very critical and she never thought that she was committing an offence.

The continuing crisis in Venezuela has fueled a rise in illegal entry by its nationals over the past two years.

Magistrate McLennan discharged the women but ordered that they be escorted to the nearest port of exit on July 26.

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