Dear Editor,

For some repatriates to readjust to Guyana after being gone 15, 25, 35 years is a very daunting task. This is one of the reasons why many repatriates end up leaving for their adopted nation after only staying a short time in Guyana. One recent repatriate is University of Guyana Vice Chancellow Ivelaw Griffith. What personal sacrifices is the professor making for our country? He is sacrificing being away from the people he loves and treasures most dearly.  For example,  since taking over at UG, the VC and his family members having been living in two different countries  for over a year. To have to live two thousand miles away from your family members is very challenging. Unless you have personally experienced it, you have no idea (I’m speaking here from personal experience).

Unfortunately Editor, most local people have no idea what it’s like not to see your wife/husband for many, many months. They are not aware of the many temptations, trials and tribulations a repatriate faces being away from his/her family.

Here is a man who gave up living in the wealthiest nation on earth whose streets are paved in gold symbolically speaking, to live in a nation where some streets are not even paved, in order to serve his people. Here is a man who gave up the “good life” to serve his country.  Here is a man who gave up spending time with his infant grandchild to serve the young people who are going to be the future teachers, lawyers, accountants, judges, prosecutors, soldiers, police officers, doctors, nurses and political leaders.  Editor, what more could be said about the Vice Chancellor and the countless other repatriates that hasn’t been said, other than that they embody the heart of true patriotism.

Although I focus primarily on the VC, he is not the only repatriate; there are many more people. These are people who have given up a much better life to give back and serve Guyanese. People like GHK Lall, Neville and Karen George.

We all need to acknowledge that the repatriates are contributing to the nation’s development in a positive way. Therefore, the locals should show more appreciation to them for their service to the nation. Consequently, I’m appealing to my fellow citizens to please desist from the derogatory comments about them. These divisive comments show an unfortunate lack of respect for the repatriates, and it will discourage the diaspora from repatriating.   It’s not a sign of weakness nor is it unpatriotic to migrate to another country. Nothing is wrong with migration. However, repatriation is a demonstration of patriotism.

With that said, I’m praying that the VC and other repatriates will not become discouraged by the negative pressure, reviews and comments and return to their adopted nations. Instead, I pray that they’ll become more inspired to stay the course and that when they face criticism they will go ‘high’ when others go ‘low.’ I want the VC and other repatriates to know that this government, the opposition, the nation and every local Guyanese needs their help more than they need them.

Editor, what our country needs more than overseas barrels are overseas brains and investors. Without repatriates’ various experiences, exemplary characters and unique expertise in various fields and disciplines, the country cannot develop.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Pantlitz

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