Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB of Georgetown said that Guyana is confronted with the new reality of migrants, and drawing on its reputation for hospitality can shape this new reality in such a way as to release a wave of new life for all.
He affirmed that the Church with its rich tradition of Gospel and social teachings ought to be, along with others, on the front of this new wave.
Bishop Alleyne, in a statement issued May 23, said “evidence shows that when countries catered to migrants by protecting them, assisting them with language, guiding them to dwelling, training and jobs it was beneficial to the country and the newcomers.”
He cited evidence which suggests that when the effort was not reserved to State agencies but supported by the population, the benefits were even more.
The bishop’s full text was published in the diocesan weekly Catholic Standard.
In the statement, he observed that a number of their neighbours from Venezuela are making their way over the border into the diocese as one of the ways of dealing with harsh conditions in their country.
A significant number of these migrants, he said, have connections in Guyana, being Guyanese or descendants of Guyanese who crossed the border in the opposite direction in the 1970s and 1980s when faced with economic and security challenges at homes. “These, as they return to their roots, can find a place and a sponsor and assimilate into Guyana culture with some ease,” Bishop Alleyne said.
On the other hand, he highlighted those who do not have the links or language and venture into the unknown within Guyana’s borders vulnerable, often desperate and at the mercy of and frequently exploited by border officials, “employers” and landlords.
Bishop Alleyne quoted from Exodus 22:20 which, he added, is worthy of recall in today’s reality of migrants among us: You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”