Venezuelans coming legally on humanitarian grounds will not be turned back

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2016, 13:30 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana government on Wednesday made it clear that Venezuelans coming here legally in search of food and other necessities would not be turned back but those entering illegally would be prosecuted and deported

“We have made it clear that on humanitarian grounds we will not turn back Venezuelans who come to seek help here in Guyana,” Minister of State, Joseph Harmon told a news conference.

Harmon, however, stressed that “the law is the law” when asked whether government would like to see a softening of the court’s approach towards those who have been brought before the courts for illegal entry.

His comments followed this week’s deportation order of 14 Venezuelans who were found guilty for illegal entry, although they told the Court that they had come to Guyana in search of food and other necessities due to the economic crisis in their homeland. “The law is the law! The government will not tell the courts how to act. The fact that the persons were actually brought to the court meant that there would have been some ffoence that would have been committed,” said Harmon, an Attorney-at-Law by profession.

The Minister of State said Guyana was internationally obligated to assist persons on humanitarian grounds

“We off course have a responsibility to ensure the integrity of our borders and that the immigration procedures will be applied to all,” he said, adding that all persons coming to Guyana must do so at the designated ports of entry.