Region One Papaya Centre, hostel, potential sites for housing Venezuelan migrants

Two Region One facilities, including the Papaya Centre, are being considered as possible housing options for migrants, as government searches for solutions to accommodate the continuous influx of Venezuelans.

During a National Multi-Sectoral Coordinating Committee meeting on Monday, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Felix, informed those gathered that a special committee is being set up to explore the option of transforming the Papaya Centre into a migrant facility.

Felix noted that with the greater inflow of migrants, government is pressed to find space to accommodate them.

It was reported that there are now 5,863 documented Venezuelan migrants in Guyana.

“Following the arrival of 140 Venezuelan migrants in Georgetown last Wednesday, the Department of Citizenship in collaboration with its international partners and other Government agencies, has been working diligently to provide the migrants with temporary accommodation, meals, medical and other services,” the Department of Public Information (DPI) has reported.

It was stated that the majority of those who arrived and were being housed at Eve Leary have been released into the custody of their relatives, while arrangements are being made for the remaining 45.

Of that group, there are 34 males and 11 females who have no family connections on

the coast.

In addition, it was noted that government is still attempting to find arrangements for the 26 persons squatting on the Non Pareil foreshore.

The other Region One facility under consideration for the relocation of migrants is an abandoned hostel at Kumaka, which the International Organisation for Migration is seeking permission to renovate.

DPI reported that the Committee was also informed that a primary school is being constructed at Eteringbang, which will accommodate approximately 60 migrant children. 

“As a result of the influx of Venezuelans, the regional health and education systems have been spread very thinly to cater to the needs of migrants. Based on recent reports, there has been an addition of 50 students at Paruima in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Region Seven. Taking into account the vast increases in school system, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is working with the Ministry of Education to roll out a project that will see Guyanese teachers being trained to teach English as a second language to Spanish-speaking students,” DPI reported.

Additionally, it was noted that the IOM has informed that a mobile application called MIGAP will be launched to make information regarding migrant support services available in Guyana more accessible.

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