We should accept refugees because we need more people if we want to develop

Dear Editor,

I write in support of Clairmont Lye’s recent letter in which he proposed inviting refugees to settle here in Guyana (‘Guyana should accept refugees’ SN, November 15).

We have to face the fact that we need more people if we want to achieve significant development in Guyana. There are very many job opportunities that exist now that are not being taken up by people who are currently unemployed, either because they think the work is too menial or too back-breaking. For instance, there is a considerable amount of untended developed land along the coast at present caused by a severe shortage of people. Refugees could be brought in to settle without disruption to people now living along the coast. I know several people who might be willing to participate in a programme to assist those refugees. Several houses are closed and have been left abandoned for want of caretakers. Retired Guyanese and old people need reasonable helpers. Everyone needs a gardener.

Farmers are leaving the creek and river to come to the coast or are leaving the country.

When the oil industry comes on stream in a few years’ time, there will be a mass movement of labour to that area, leaving many additional vacancies in the lesser paying jobs. We need to start planning now for that eventuality. Bringing in refugees is the first step in that direction.

Refugees like Ethiopians are farmers and herders and could be looked at through the United Nations.

Yours faithfully,

Hemraj Kissoon

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