‘Home is where the heart is’

Dear Editor,

‘Diaspora will only return if crime is tacked,’ according to Shamim Ibrahim (SN, June 18). I understand, disagree, and question all at the same time.

Crime is rightly a major concern, and every point and feature raised by the writer makes for good standards and better results. But due to the profusion of things and areas allowed to deteriorate to a state of near collapse in this society, sobriety and sagacity must overarch the degraded realities, if a way forward is to be found. There must be some unprecedented perspicacity and zeal in recognizing the true state of affairs in this place, and what is demanded if we are to get anywhere, if we really desire to be present in a grand evolving social and political experiment.

For starters, there are many ships of state listing dangerously of which crime is but one. It must be addressed forthrightly and forthwith. Having said this, the ships have to be stabilized first, with bearings pinpointed and locked-in, before decisions (and results) can follow as to direction, speed, and desired outcomes.

Cumulatively, this is one enormous aircraft carrier waiting to be manoeuvered in little space and less time. I submit that this is more of a commencement stage and effort, rather than a work-in-progress condition. Regardless, expectations are high, with time being of the essence. Given the places where the diaspora is primarily concentrated, patience is not in abundant supply.

Now from a pragmatic perspective, if the diaspora (the interested and engaged members) handicaps itself in this fashion, there may have to be an open-ended moratorium on any accelerated return to the homeland.

Crime should and will be tackled along the meaningful lines identified. There is still, however, the immovable mountains of money laundering, tax evasion, and drug running standing in powerful resistance to any diminution of scale of activity or presence; these are more insidious types of crimes, sometimes unrecognizable. These are not going away quietly, and all the policies and procedures in the world will struggle to impact significantly. This is the brave new world of Guyana, and one must wonder how the diaspora will come to grips with such omniscient and omnipotent conditions present. This is enough to make many stay away.

Further, others in the diaspora will have similarly legitimate concerns and hesitancies in such areas as flooding, infrastructural levels, healthcare quality and embedded cultural norms, to name a few serious negatives. In terms of cultural norms, Guyana is a very different place today. Take it from me; take, also, a few more unsolicited comments.

As a former member of the diaspora who returned a couple of years ago, there was a solid sense of what permeated the local environment then: flooding, corruption, dirty governance, dirty politicians, drugs and crime. I still came back. Some close folks think I was crazy then. Perhaps I was and still am now. But home is where the heart is, and this is what ought to be followed with a passion. Thus, I encourage others to do so, and do so without reservation. If not, the day of decision will be constantly delayed, and there will always be some restraining, mitigating factor to keep away.

Yours faithfully,
GHK Lall

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