The findings of a population decrease during the last census should immediately propel changes in governance arrangements to foster a deepener sense of national unity and belonging, according to the Indian Arrival Committee (IAC).
The preliminary results, which were recently released to the public, show Guyana’s population has decreased from 751,223 in 2002 to 747, 884 in 2012, a reduction of 3,339 persons.
Analyst Christopher Ram has estimated that the findings of the census indicate that roughly 128,000 persons have left the country in the decade between 2002 and 2012, when the births of deaths during the period are considered.
In a statement, the IAC said the results are alarming and noted that they indicate a high net migration outflow of between 15 and 20 per cent of the current resident population between 2002 and 2012. It added that the current census figures strongly suggest that the brain drain has continued unabated, despite the strength of the local economy, which has had 14 consecutive years growth according to GDP per capita statistics published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The IAC is concerned that despite this prolonged period of economic growth, the migration outflows continue unchecked and it suggested that a comparative analysis of the respective economic growth patterns of Guyana and Singapore will shed much light on Guyana’s current predicament. According to IMF Statistics, the GDP (nominal) per capita in 1960 for Guyana was US$304 while that of Singapore was US$395. In 2013, the values were US$3,729 for Guyana and US$54,776 for Singapore.
The IAC has computed, using statistics obtained from the IMF database, that to arrive at where Singapore’s economy stood in 2013, it would take Guyana 254 years (from 1960) or another 200 years from today,” it said, adding, “This reality should be a cause of urgent action.”
Therefore, the group urges all political parties, trade unions, religious bodies, cultural organisations, NGOs and civil society to join together to combat divisiveness and to combine intellects to craft a new approach for the nation. The IAC said it believes strongly that the time has come for a serious re-examination of governance initiatives to enhance inclusiveness by all ethnic groups. “This is absolutely necessary to address the deleterious effects of brain drain and increasing levels of crime are to be effectively combatted and result in a significant reduction of the unacceptably high levels of insecurity present in Guyanese society today,” it further said, while adding that it is eager to join with like-minded partners in this endeavour.