TIP, illegal immigrants concern raised in Region 10

Concerns have recently been raised by officials over the issues of human trafficking and illegal immigrants entering Guyana via the Kurupukari settlement on the Upper Essequibo River in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) from neighbouring Brazil.
The issues were brought to the fore during a consultation between officials of design consultancy company Beston/SRKN’gineering and the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) which was hosted in Linden.
These among other security issues were highlighted by the region’s officials during the engagement with the company which has been contracted by the Public Infrastructure Ministry to conduct feasibility studies and detailed designs for the major rehabilitation of the Soesdyke-Linden Highway and upgrades to the Linden-Mabura Hill road in addition to the construction of a river/bridge crossing at Kurupukari.
During the discourse which was hosted at the office of the RDC, Regional Councillor Owen DeSouza pointed to the issue of monitoring illegal immigrants suspected to be entering the country, especially through Kurupukari.
Project Director and team leader attached to SRKN, Stuart Hughes said while this is not necessarily a part of the company’s Terms of Reference, the issue has been highlighted before. The existence of the issue was confirmed by Social and Gender Specialist Vanda Radzick, who is currently attached to the team of experts working on the project. According to Radzick, she is aware of the issue where immigrants are being brought from Brazil through Kurupukari under the pretence of coming to Guyana for betterment. She also pointed to a recent case where she noted that 17 boys have allegedly disappeared without a trace.
Radzick noted that there is a fully apprised police outpost at Kurupukari which manages its barriers, as she explained that the company will soon be meeting with officers there and checking their records.
Radzick added that there is also an existing trend where young boys are trafficked for cheap or free labour. As such, she made the call for stricter monitoring systems to be put in place to ensure that the social well-being of everyone is protected.
Regional Chairman Renis Morian pointed to the removal of 18 Indonesians from Christianburg, Linden, who were reportedly in the country illegally. Morian questioned the security measures as it relates to the opening up of new roads which will be directly linked to Brazil.
“Whatever we have right now… the security arrangement is not working…The fact that we’re finding illegals in Linden means that they’re coming there so whatever system [is being put in place], that system needs to be a part of this whole thing,” he noted.
Radzick further explained that the company will be making recommendations based on social impacts as she stressed the need for strong recommendations.
Project Manager attached to the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Dionne Amsterdam assured that the feedback and concerns given by stakeholders will be recorded.