Home Affairs Minister concerned about non-State actors at Venezuelan border

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn

Even as tensions heightened between Guyana and Venezuela over the ongoing border controversy, Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn has noted that there are mounting concerns over non-State actors from the Spanish-speaking nation at the border between the two countries.

Speaking at the Regional Security System (RSS) Council of Ministers Meeting held in Georgetown on Friday, Minister Benn posited that there were risks and challenges Guyana was facing when it came to the border with its Spanish-speaking neighbour.

“We are concerned about the questions of instability, particularly in the presence of non-State actors in eastern Venezuela [especially] on our borders. And here, I make reference to the remnants of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional/National Liberation Army), the Tren (Tren de Aragua – Venezuelan street gang) and others supporting their efforts in the form of the malandros and others who are involved in drug trafficking, people trafficking and smuggling of minerals and other things,” the Home Affairs Minister stated.

His comment comes on the heels of increased criminal activities carried out by Venezuelan nationals in Guyana, especially in the border communities.

Only on Wednesday, two Venezuelan nationals were among three persons charged and remanded for the murder of Chinese businessman Yang Lisong, last week at Eteringbang Landing.

Darvy Diaz De Costa and Oscar Alside Scanio – both Venezuelans – along with Pharrell Prince Adelph of Crane Housing Scheme, West Coast Demerara (WCD), appeared at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court #5 before Magistrate Faith McGusty, to answer the charge of murder in the course or furtherance of a robbery, contrary to Section 100(1ci) of the Criminal Law (Offences) Act, Chapter 8:01.

They were not required to plead to the charge. The matter was transferred to the Kamarang Magistrate’s Court, with the next court date set for April 24, 2024.On March 14, Yang and his wife, who operated a supermarket at Eteringbang Landing, were attacked.

During the ordeal, the perpetrators had bound the hands of the Chinese businessman and bashed in his face. His wife was also injured during the robbery. Shortly after the incident, the Police had nabbed the suspects.

This followed the fatal shooting of Zaheer Mohammed Sheriff, a 50-year-old gold miner of Byderabo Road, Bartica, Region Seven, and Donovan Washington, a 26-year-old porter of Lot 11 Seventh Avenue, Bartica, during a robbery at the Arimu Backdam, Cuyuni River. The deceased were attacked by two masked bandits, who escaped with $37 million in raw gold and two firearms on March 3.

The incident had sparked outrage from stakeholders in the mining industry since Sheriff was a senior member of the Small Miners’ Association Guyana Inc (SMAGI).

During a subsequent visit to Bartica, President Dr Irfaan Ali on March 6 promised the miners that their issues would be addressed and further consultations held by the security forces.