The Most Reverend Charles Jason Gordon said that today that perhaps close to three hundred Venezuelan nationals come into the country each week, despite the government’s efforts at closing the borders.
This, in spite of the statement by the authorities that such persons would be sent back, if found, following the registration exercise which ran for two weeks in June.
He was speaking with reporters at Archbishop’s House yesterday morning, Friday 20 December. He said these were the figures being reported by the Church’s Migrants and Refugees Ministry, the Living Water Community.
The Archbishop said about a year ago, there was an estimated 95 persons arriving weekly. But, he said, that figure has risen to about three times that at present. Head of the Community, Rhonda Maingot and co-ordinator of the Ministry, Rochelle Nakhid were present at the news conference.
It was called to provide an update on the situation, with the visit here this week by Fr Robert Stark, Regional Co-ordinator for North America, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, in the Migrants and Refugees section of the Vatican’s Integral Human department.
Based on the exposures he has had during the visit, Fr Stark says it points to what he describes as a deeply positive relationship between the government, the church, other non-government agencies and engaged individuals.
He said his visit was a mission to see what the experience is here on the ground, and to pass on his insights from other regions where the large movements of people have been taking place.
He said the relationship between both agencies appeared to be one which has already strong bonds. It is something that is significant, it is not superficial, he said.
He said, however, while there has been a history of migration between the two neighbouring states, the current wave is significant, and part of the church’s role is to select from a range of options, solutions that might be workable.