I have been following with interest the exchange of ideas on diaspora engagement. The University of Guyana must be commended for initiating a discourse on diaspora involvement in our development process. There is however one dimension that seems to be ignored and that is the political environment.
Guyanese, or for that matter any overseas investor, would be disinclined to invest in the country if there is a lack of political stability and an uncertain future. Few can deny that the country is currently experiencing deep political stress. The failure to arrive at broad national consensus on important aspects of governance such as the appointment of a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission and delays on putting in place the mechanisms for constitutional reforms are inhibiting factors in terms of creating a favourable investment climate. This is further compounded by a less than satisfactory security environment and weak supporting infrastructure in critical areas such as cheap energy and telecommunications.
There is need for a bipartisan Commission on Investment which ideally should be comprised of representatives from all the major political parties, the Guyanese diaspora, the University of Guyana and civil society. Such a commission is likely to engender a much higher level of trust and confidence among those who may have an interest in contributing to Guyana’s development.
The key factor remains a stable and predictable political environment buttressed by a strong and independent judiciary and a favourable investment climate.