The diaspora should be represented on the constitutional consultative commission

Dear Editor,

A bill on constitutional reform was introduced in Parliament on July 27 to establish a Constitutional Reform Consultative Commission. The bill calls for the commission to have a representative each from various bodies or entities or institutions to represent segments of the population or various stakeholders. But it excludes representation of the diaspora. It is widely accepted that there are as many Guyanese in the diaspora as in Guyana. It is a fact that elements or representatives of the diaspora have been the driving force behind constitutional reform.

Neither party (government or opposition PPP) is serious about constitutional reform. We have to take the government bill with a grain of salt. People don’t take the government seriously. It simply is ‘mamaguying’ people. With regard to importance of the diaspora, it is a fact that the diaspora has been keeping the economy afloat with remittances over the last forty years, yet the government has given no consideration to having consultations with the diaspora.

The governments of all other countries hold consultations with their diasporas. Isn’t it ironic that in a week in which the government along with UG has been holding an engagement conference with the diaspora at Ramada Hotel that the government has decided to snub the diaspora. How can the diaspora take the government seriously? We are not fools; we know when we are not wanted or when we are wanted only for our money to fund conferences or election campaigns.

Why should the diaspora help the country when succeeding governments, not just this one but its predecessor also, have no respect for the diaspora. The diaspora has not been in the thoughts and minds of elements of the government. It is hoped the bill will be redrafted and that there will be a couple of representatives from the diaspora, perhaps selected by the two dominant parties in consultations with stakeholders abroad.

Yours faithfully,

Vishnu Bisram

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