I have seen increasing reports in the media of Venezuelans being fined and deported for entering illegally into or overstaying in Guyana.
Since we all know that there is a crisis in Venezuela causing its citizens in need of food, medicine and other amenities not available there to seek them where they can, including in Guyana, I wonder whether it is not yet time for us to define our national policy on this issue if we have not already done so.
If there is already a policy and systems exist, is there sufficient information about them in the places where they are needed to make them accessible to those who need them?
If there is not yet a policy, such a policy to set up humanitarian systems to help needy Venezuelans coming into Guyana can be prepared through the joint work of the Ministries responsible for immigration, public security and citizenship and the Guyana Police Force and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, with the guidance of the Attorney General, after consultations with the public.
Considering our own history, surely compassion is infinitely preferable to our first step being to fine and forcibly remove Venezuelans seeking our help.
In writing this, I mean no indictment on the conduct of our Magistrates, who have little discretion in carrying out their statutory functions once charges are brought before them.