Venezuelan refugeesCitizenship Minister Winston Felix has announced that a plot of land in Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini) has been identified for the establishment of a homestead settlement area or a humanitarian centre for registered Venezuelans who have fled to Guyana.According to the Minister, the land has been identified as a result of a collaborative effort of the Mayor and Town Council of Mabaruma and the Citizenship Ministry. The decision was taken during a multi-agency coordinating committee meeting on Tuesday.Felix said the resettlement area was currently privately owned and that the Government would now initiate efforts to determine what arrangements could be put in place to acquire the land for the establishment of the centre.The Ministry of the Presidency, in a statement, said that while this process was being undertaken, Felix has tasked the regional administration to set up aCitizenship Minister Winston Felix along with officials of the multi-agency coordinating committeeRegional Coordinating Sub-Committee, which could take charge of the situation on the ground even as the agencies on the national committee continue to lend the necessary assistance to those in the region. The Public Health Ministry has since established health posts in the outlined areas, including at Mabaruma and Morawhanna, and is expected to establish yet another outpost at Imbotero Village by the end of this week at which migrants and residents would be screened and vaccinated. Additionally, the Ministry would be bolstering its presence in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). Refrigerators for the storage of vaccines at the locations have already been procured and would be dispatched and set up by the end of next week.Meanwhile, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has committed its support to addressing the migration of Venezuelans and to help boost Guyana’s capacity to deal with such situations in the event of future occurrences.The IOM is currently conducting work in gathering data on the migrants, and has observed trends through a Displacement Tracking Matrix in Regions One (Barima-Waini); Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); Four (Demerara-Mahaica) and Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).Following calls by Region One Chairman Brentnol Ashley for Government and donor agencies to provide more assistance to Venezuelan refugees, the Administration on August 6 signalled its intention to construct several facilities to respond to the Venezuelan influx. This was announced by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon at his post-Cabinet briefing. A number of local businesses and Guyanese have provided food and clothing to the refugees.Venezuelan refugees mainly from the Warrau tribe have been fleeing the economic and political turmoil in the Spanish-speaking country.According to information provided, there are over 600 refugees in Region One.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, heads the list of 12 persons and organizations honoured by the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) for outstanding service to the organization over the past 20 years.The awardees, inclusive of three former Prime Ministers, were presented with special plaques during the NRSC’s 20th Anniversary Banquet, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on April 18.The former Prime Ministers receiving awards were: the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson; Mr. Andrew Holness, the current Opposition Leader; and Mr. Bruce Golding, all of whom chaired the NRSC.They were recognized for their contributions to advancing Jamaica’s road safety initiatives and programmes, designed to reduce traffic accidents and the resulting fatalities occurring on the nation’s roads.Other recipients of awards included: late orthopaedic surgeon, Professor Sir John Golding, who was instrumental in establishing the NRSC, which he served as the first Vice Chairman; former Chairman of the Jamaica Association of General Insurance Companies (JAGIC), Errol Ziadie, who provided support services during the NRSC’s fledgling years; the Jamaica Bankers Association (JBA); Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS); National Health Fund (NHF); Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); Fédération Internationale de l’Autombile (FIA); and Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS).By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter