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Options being explored to find housing for Venezuelan migrants

first_imgFollowing the arrival of 140 Venezuelan migrants in Georgetown last Wednesday, the Department of Citizenship in collaboration with its international partners and other Governmental agencies has been working diligently to provide the migrants with temporary accommodation, meals, medical and other services.Some of the Venezuelan migrants living in GuyanaAccording to the Public Information and Press Service Unit at the Ministry of the Presidency, the majority of those who were being housed at Eve Leary has since been released into the care of their relatives. Presently, arrangements are being made to find housing for 45 persons, including 34 males and 11 females, who do not have any family connections on the coast.Additionally, housing arrangements are still being worked out for the 26 persons squatting along the Non Pariel foreshore.Meanwhile, in an effort to protect the migrants from possible exploitation, the Immigration Department has established a protocol to vet persons claiming to be family members.At Monday’s meeting of the National Multi-Sectoral Coordinating Committee, Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix informed that a special committee is being set up to explore the option of transforming the Papaya Centre, located in Barima-Waini, Region One, into a facility for migrants; noting that “the greater the inflow of migrants, the more pressed we will be to find space”.Additionally, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) will be seeking permission from the relevant authorities to renovate an abandoned hostel at Kumaka, Region One, to house migrants, particularly since this is a region where the inflow is greater.The Committee was also informed that a primary school is being constructed at Eteringbang, which will accommodate about 60 migrant children. As a result of the influx of Venezuelans, the regional health and education systems have been spread very thinly to cater to the needs of migrants. Based on recent reports, there has been an addition of 50 students at Paruima in Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Region Seven. Taking into account the vast increases in the school system, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is working with the Education Ministry to roll out a project that will see Guyanese teachers being trained to teach English as a second language to Spanish-speaking students.Technology is also being heavily relied upon to better manage the influx of migrants. In fact, the IOM has informed that a mobile application called “MIGAP” will be launched to make more accessible; all pertinent information regarding migrant support services that are available in Guyana. To date, there are 5863 documented Venezuelan migrants in Guyana.last_img read more

Dog handler trial raises question of who’s to blame

first_imgFORT MEADE, Md. – An Abu Ghraib dog handler’s trial revealed another facet of the humiliating abuse detainees endured at the Iraqi prison, but left unanswered the question that has hung over nine previous convictions of other low-ranking soldiers: How high should the blame go? Attorneys for Sgt. Michael J. Smith, sentenced to less than six months in prison Wednesday, argued that Abu Ghraib was a dangerous, chaotic place where policies were so unclear that even the officer who supervised interrogations testified that he was confused. Prosecutors said Smith let his unmuzzled black Belgian shepherd bark and lunge at cowering Iraqis for his own amusement. Although a military jury agreed, convicting Smith of mistreating prisoners and crimes Tuesday, its sentence was far less than the 8 years he could have received or the three years prosecutors had sought. Eugene R. Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice in Alexandria, Va., said he had expected Smith to get years, not months, of confinement. “I think people around the world are going to be scratching their heads at that sentence,” he said. “The conduct of which this soldier was convicted is highly offensive, and if this is all one gets – it’s not impunity, but it’s getting real close.” Prosecutors said Smith conspired with another dog handler in a contest to try to frighten detainees at the Iraqi prison into soiling themselves. Smith appeared unrepentant when he addressed the jury shortly after he was convicted, saying, “Soldiers are not supposed to be soft and cuddly.” He expressed remorse, however, over a separate indecency conviction for directing his dog to lick peanut butter off other soldiers’ bodies. The defense argued that Smith believed he was following orders to soften up prisoners for interrogation. The trial saw the highest-ranking officer yet take responsibility for abuse at Abu Ghraib. Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the former top-ranking intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib, testified under a grant of immunity at Smith’s trial that he failed to set appropriate controls for the use of dogs at the Baghdad-area prison. Pappas testified that he approved a one-time use of muzzled dogs inside interrogation booths but he later learned he lacked the authority to give such an order. Pappas was reprimanded, fined and relieved of his command. Avi Cover, a senior associate at Human Rights First, a civil-rights advocacy group in New York, said the defense “made a strong case that officers’ orders and lack of guidance led to the abuse of detainees, including threatening detainees with dogs.” But Cover and Fidell said it’s still unclear whether officers above Pappas and civilian Defense Department officials condoned abuse at the prison. “My own feeling has long been that there should be an impartial, outside investigation because until that happens, the public is not going to have confidence in the administration of justice,” Fidell said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more