The frequent letter-writer, GHK Lall’s latest fulmination is a response to my column of April 29 captioned: `Many stayed and endured; that is sacrifice.’ It is about certain types of diaspora Guyanese who stayed away long and have come back and displaced many locals whose qualifications are on par with theirs. Lall’s letter is published in the Stabroek News under the title; `Genuine diaspora returnees bring an immeasurable , invaluable quality back to the table of Guyana’ (May 11).
In his usual verbose style, he resorts to his so-called reach of Naipaulian prose to criticize me. The prose is mixed with scurrilous, gutter-like descriptions, a habit he so glowingly condemns in other Guyanese but is so pyrotechnically manifest in his own mentality. Here is an extract of his venom, the very venom he is so fond of detecting in the society and chastising the society for; “There are those few members of the diaspora who toil ceaselessly… this is enraging to the narrow-minded primitives, who like things just the way they have always been. This spoils their monopoly over negativity. Many resentful locals are aware of this and do their damnedest to denounce what is interpreted as a threatening presence. The one-eyed men in a blind man’s land work feverishly to maintain their status quo; having backed themselves into immovable corners through locked minds, there are neither personal visions nor willingness to give way to new ones.”
But wait a minute. Here is what GHK Lall says about Parliament. I ask readers to note the repellant semantics. And I remind readers that this same GHK Lall writes five letters a week in Stabroek News denouncing inelegant debates in Guyana. Read this now; “…lift parliament (raucous, retarded, and recidivist) out of its longstanding cesspool into a place of respect, appreciation….” Note the word from this so-called purist – “cesspool.”
Now for my rejoinder to the letter itself. GHK Lall is dishonest when he replied failing deliberately to represent accurately the essential point of that April 29 column. My point then and now is that many diaspora members come to Guyana to receive after the best days of their lives were given to other countries, those days are over and they come here to show off on us. Our leaders in power tolerate and encourage this abomination.
In that April 25 article, I never said one bad or wrong word about diaspora returnees who come to invest. These are unsung heroes that we must always admire. They bring youth, energy and money. They invest in a country that is a failed land. I meet then all the time as recent as last week when I visited the auto-electrician on Middleton Street. These unknown people come back to their birthplace and set up shop manufacturing and producing things for the local market.
That is not the type of diaspora returnees I have denounced and will continue to criticize. And yes, let me repeat what I penned in a previous column last year; it was an insult to award Adam Harris and Dr. Mark Kirton with an AA and assign CCH to Dr. Ivelaw Griffith. Had that been done to me, the award would have been rejected with trenchant semantics. Imagine President Jagdeo gave our highest order – Order of Excellence – to Dr. Compton Bourne. For what? You tell me.
My contestation is that there are diaspora returnees (of which GHK Lall is one) who have spent over forty years giving their talent, skills and time to other countries and when they are close to retirement or have retired they come here looking for top paying jobs. And you know what? They get it. If GHK Lall was trained as a researcher he would study the statistics. The statistics show that almost ninety percent of those who came back looking for jobs during the Jagdeo/Ramotar era and now the Granger period are in the age group of 58 to 75. And their period outside of Guyana is always around thirty to thirty five to forty years. Just make a check of the age of returnees since May 2015.