What are the greener pastures?
Congratulations to Dr Moti Lall on his dedicated services to his patients, to the field of medicine and to his country.
I guess it is disheartening as a senior doctor to train younger doctors to carry on your work and legacy just to see them leave, peddling their skills in the “greener pastures” and also proud that the skills passed on are helping people throughout the world.
Just like Dr Lall, my father studied abroad, in England in the 1960’s and returned to Guyana after independence to build a home in the country of his birth. After years of struggling against a failing system, overlooked for promotion while younger and less qualified party activists were being promoted, poor education for your children, fighting the system, it was too much. Eventually he decided to leave for another Caribbean island for the “greener pastures”.
If you are lucky to work in the Caribbean, where your qualifications are recognized you can start over. A lot of times migration takes you to the USA or Canada and your qualifications are not recognized, forcing you to do menial work to survive.
Does the Government of Guyana and Opposition parties ever wonder why a qualified person will leave their home, their country of birth, to start over mid life in a strange land?
Do they ever wonder what this does to a family moral? To see your parents struggling to start over at mid life for no fault of their own?
This story is not unique to my family. Most Guyanese fit this mould, both Afro and Indian. It was worse under the PNC government but still continues under the present PPP government.
This brings me to what is the greener pasture? For my family it was the need for a better education for the children. My grandfather always said to us “stay in school, don’t make the shovel your pen.” My father being an educated man, made this decision for the family, taking a lesser position, but in a country with a good education system allowing us to succeed.
It was so nice to turn on a light switch and there is light, open your faucet and there is water and security; not worried about being “choked and robbed” or your front door kicked in by bandits, whom a lot of times turned out to be the police or army who should be protecting the citizens and not robbing them.
As I see Guyana progress and I have these fantasies of returning home to build the nation, two facts quickly change my mind. First, a few years ago under this PPP Government two of my friends, both physicians, after completing fellowship training tried returning to Guyana and was told Guyana does not have a need for their service.
Second, I look at my parents on their late sixty’s and still working to pay a mortgage. I quickly realized I will be making the same mistake of returning home when the political climate has not changed.
The “greener pastures” is not always money, it is seeking the basic infrastructure of education, reliable electricity, clean and reliable water, transportation and most of all a safe and security home to raise a family.
Most of us would stay at home and those who have left, return home if we don’t have to struggle on a daily basis for survival, while watching the politicians and drug dealers living the high life.