Migrants from Venezuela, who are eligible, should be allowed to vote in elections- Jagdeo

Last Updated on Thursday, 2 November 2023, 20:39 by Denis Chabrol

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday indicated that Guyanese, who have returned from Venezuela, and their offspring who have all come here to flee the crisis in that country should be allowed to vote in Guyana’s general elections.

“The reality is they are here now and so, based on our constitution and the laws of our country, they are eligible for citizenship…They’ve been living here. If they chose to register and vote, they have rights just like other citizens. These are Guyanese so if they vote, should we say to them ‘don’t vote PPP’,” he said when asked by Demerara Waves Online News whether the PPP would be capitalising on the presence of returning Guyanese and their Venezuelan children for the 2025 general and regional elections.

He said the People’s National Congress Reform-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) should also want the re-migrants and migrants of Guyanese parenthood  to vote and “make a case and tell them we have a great plan for the future.”

Mr Jagdeo said only those persons, who are eligible to be registered and vote, would be allowed to vote rather than promise citizenship to people if they vote for the PPP.

The APNU and Alliance For Change  have repeatedly expressed concern that amendments to the law governing registration of births would allow Justices of the Peace, Toshaos and Notaries Public to attest that foreigners were born in Guyana so that they could obtain Guyanese birth certificates and eventually register with the Guyana Elections Commission.

Mr Jagdeo, who is also a Vice President, appealed to Guyanese not to mistreat Venezuelans, noting that “the majority of them have Guyanese blood” because thousands of Guyanese had migrated to Venezuela and elsewhere due food shortages, joblessness and political repression here decades ago.

“We are not going to be part of any movement to promote xenophobia,” he said. Mr Jagdeo cautioned that Guyanese who still live in Venezuela could face repercussions in reaction to “reprehensible” actions against Venezuelans. In relation to native Venezuelans here , Mr Jagdeo said, “as refugees they are entitled to protection by the State.”

The Vice President, at the same time, said government was cautious that there could be Venezuelan State actors who could be infiltrating the country.