Over one hundred Venezuelan nationals of the Warrau tribe were escorted out of Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) on Monday, following reports of alleged vandalism and illegal occupation.
When contacted on Wednesday, Police confirmed that 125 persons were escorted out of the Arpiaco area Upper Pomeroon. The operation was conducted by a joint team of officers from the Guyana Police Force, and the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guards unit.
Big Smith News Watch was told that the group of refugees entered the Pomeoon sometime last week, via a number of canoes. It is not clear if their general objective was to relocate. Reports are, however, that as the group travelled up the Pomeroon river, they made several stops in various areas to gather and prepare food.
It was during these ‘stops’ that they reportedly vandalised several farms. A female farmer who spoke to this publication said that she “couldn’t believe her eyes” when she saw what had happened to her farm.
She went on to say, “they pick out all my coconuts, then they chop down the tree, they eat out the oranges, destroyed the plantains and just leave. My son sprayed the oranges and when he gone back he ain’t reach none, all pick out.”
The Toshao of Kabakaburi, Monti Simon, reportedly observed the refugees in his area and recommended that they clear and occupy and piece of land in the Arpiaco area, which is in close proximity to his community.
It was at this point that the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) was contacted. The Regional Chairman, Ms. Vilma De Saliva, said that the region dispatched food hampers to the area. During a brief interview, she said, “the region dispatched food hampers after we learnt of the person’s situations. It was difficult to communicate with them because almost all of them spoke the Warrau language.”
She went on to say, “Few of them spoke Spanish, and we managed to get that translated, so we learnt that they were refugees who were based in Region One, and they subsequently left and came down to the Pomeroon River… they even told us that more of them were in their way, and at this point, we got scared because it seemed as though we were going to have an influx of migrants.”
The Regional Chairman said that measures were put in place so as to ensure that the Refugees remained isolated, due to health concerns.
Senior Woman Superintendent of Police, Denice Griffith, told this publication that police were contacted after a farmer reported that persons were trespassing on his farm. While she was unable to confirm whether or not the farm was vandalized, she did say that the farmer wanted the refugees gone.
It was at this point that the Joint services sprang into action, and commenced escorting the refugees out of the Area. Police said that they (the refugees) were transported to Charity via boat, and were then flown back to Region One via aeroplane. The relocation process which commenced on Saturday last, concluded yesterday with the last of the Refugees relocated.