“Curaçao can no longer handle the number of Venezuelans”

WILLEMSTAD - The number of Venezuelans in Curaçao will have risen to 21,000 by the end of 2020. That presence leads to such great pressure on general resources that Curaçao can no longer bear that.

Lesley Fer, director of Risk Management and Disaster Policy, said this yesterday during a presentation for the Interparliamentary Kingdom Consultation, IPKO.

Therefore, according to Fer, the problem must be tackled throughout the Kingdom.

“We are not only dealing with a humanitarian problem, but the Venezuelan refugees also bring drugs and weapons - even hand grenades. In addition, as a crisis controller, I have to monitor whether no members of Hezbollah or the Colombian guerrilla movement ELN are coming to the island. The closure of the borders led to a 20% reduction in tourism. Illegal Venezuelans have a substantial influence on employment (disruption of the labor market), medical costs (such as pregnancies for which they are not insured) and public health, partly due to illegal prostitution. Assistance and removal cost the government hands full of money,” said Fer.

“I am responsible for risk management on the island. Due to the problems with Venezuelans I spend 85 percent of my time on this. The coast guard and the police are also largely concerned with the Venezuelan problem, as well as customs, border police, the admission organization and various ministries. We are unable to do other important core tasks of the government.”

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