The Guyana Diaspora will provide a wake-up call to Guyana

Dear Editor,

Guyanese in London welcome the effort of the Guyana Government and the International Organisation for Migration on the long overdue launching of the Guyana Diaspora in London.  Guyanese can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the journey to reach it began with the launching of the Guyana Diaspora in New York and London.

We have witnessed the diaspora in action playing an important role to boost the economies of India and China.  There is no doubt that it will work also in Guyana where the government is vigorously pursuing programmes and policies that result in a steady growth of the economy.

Before catching up on the developed world, Guyana needs a wake-up call. The Guyana Diaspora, with its rare combination of credibility, motivation and expertise will provide that wake-up call. Mechanisms and policies should be put in place to engage domestic skills in the diaspora, with enough confidence to rely upon the diaspora members as ‘sounding boards’ and ‘antennas,’ especially when discussions are held on the allocation of funds for research and technology developments. In this sense, the locals will get involved and diaspora members will have the feeling of inclusion which is good practice in a diaspora engagement,

The members of the Guyana Diaspora have, inter alios, three characteristics that position them to make a unique contribution to the development of our country. Firstly, they have a strong motivation to make their mark on Guyana against many odds.

Secondly, they have good knowledge and experience of both global opportunities and local communities. Thirdly, not always, but frequently they have financial resources to take on new opportunities.

When these resources are combined, usually as a matter of good intentions, the impact on Guyana’s development will be substantial. Yet these same resources can also combine in a negative way. Diaspora talents can become hard-core drug dealers, ferocious rent seekers, allying themselves with reactionary and backward-looking vested interests in the country.

No doubt, the government is aware of this and will publish guidelines to make the official entry of the Diaspora into Guyana as smooth and clear as possible.

Yours faithfully,
Paul Kirpaul

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