Diaspora and Guyanese have to seize opportunities which come with the Trump presidency

Dear Editor,

The results are in, and the so-called “unthinkable” has happened. In retrospect it is not so much that the election of Donald Trump was unthinkable, it was more that the Trump election proves that chickens do come home to roost, as was famously noted by Malcolm X. As President Obama said on one of his campaign stops for Hillary Clinton, Republicans can’t run away from Trump. They built the base that elected Trump. As the President noted, all Trump did was what he does in his business operations, he swoops in and takes over what others have built and slaps on his brand.

I watched the rise of Trump from Canada. At first I thought he was just going to disrupt the Republicans which I thought was a great thing. As he rolled through the primaries he became more credible as a potential winner of the presidency, but I thought Hillary would win in the end, especially with the full support she got from President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Hillary Clinton might have pulled it off if not for the second email bomb dropped by the FBI, and the votes siphoned off by the Libertarian and Green Parties. We see that she won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College vote.

We note from his first post-election interview that Mr Trump is saying that he is going to keep some clauses of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). This climb down suggests that he is going to apply thought to his governance agenda.

In relation to the Caribbean, US concerns about security, especially the war on drugs is going to be an ongoing area for engagement irrespective of the Trump agenda. The family reconnection bias of current US immigration regulations means that unless there is comprehensive immigration reform most Caribbean people would continue on their citizenship paths though family connections. Caribbean people generally do not raise the security red-flags that Trump discussed on the campaign trail.

The view I take on illegal immigration is that if you are illegally in a jurisdiction you need to take steps to get regularised. Order is part of development.

The race issue is ongoing in the USA. The Trump campaign as part of the Republican perspective on race did send mixed signals. The Republican Party supports racism based on its policy positions. The Democratic Party takes African (American) votes as a given, partly because of the Republican positions on race relations, and does not really push as aggressively as it could on economic empowerment of African-Americans.

Therefore going back to the change that a Trump presidency might bring to US federal policy on race-related issues, there might be space created for good policy. It needs to be considered that the Trump campaign caused some latent racist feelings in the USA to come out. These issues must be worked through.

It can be said too that many of the persons protesting the election of Trump are not getting sound information. For example, the use of the Electoral College is part of what the US founding fathers established to ensure that election of the President would not just be based on the absolute number of votes cast.

This was to help balance size of population and geographical size of the states. Trade was a major issue on the campaign trail. Here the Caribbean is going to be minimally affected by a rethink of US trade policy globally. The trade agreements in place between the USA and the Caribbean would continue as the Caribbean countries’ main exports are services.

Many of our goods exports are tropical niche products which are not the concern of Americans in the rust belt. The real issue is whether there is going to be overall positive reaction on global markets to the Trump presidency.

If US citizens and permanent residents wish to leave the USA to escape from Trump then the Citizenship by Invitation (CBI) programmes run in some Caribbean countries can be of some help in the stimulation of inward capital flows. However, enquiries and agreeing to actually pursue a CBI option is by no means guaranteed.

Trump ran an unorthodox campaign and got the presidency. So in the diaspora and in Guyana and the Caribbean we have to be wise, and seize any opportunities that come with the Trump presidency, while continuing to fight for better race relations. If members of the Caribbean diaspora in the USA think that a Trump presidency is not good for them, then re-migration would be a great thing as we need the experts of the diaspora on the ground in their home countries helping to push change and to invest.

Yours faithfully,

Fitzgerald Yaw

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