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Nov 30, 2008 Features / Columnists
I have met Guyanese citizens overseas and it is always pleasant to gaff about things in Guyana. As the global financial crisis continues to affect people around the world, there may be an opportunity for our brothers and sisters living outside of Guyana to re-engage the possibilities of how they can help our nation to be prepared for the next decade.
I know when they read the headlines in our papers of the killings and robberies, they are turned off. Yes, we must create a new hope, better security, implement a greater vision in order to attract back our overseas Guyanese, and we are capable of that.
Guyana is your first love, we want to work with you to make our country better, many of us want your help, we want your advice, we want your expertise, and we want your investments and more so we want to unite Guyana locally and internationally.
We know this is your number one concern as it relates to Guyana. There are just a few ways that we can improve security in our nation. It takes will, action and leadership to stop the carnage and improve the lives of all our citizens.
a. Re-look at the Death Penalty for heinous crimes.
b. Revamp our Justice System, where cases are heard within a short time frame.
c. Create a three-strike rule, where it is 15 years in jail for your third conviction.
d. Eliminate serving three years for small crimes and causing our prison over crowding. Create a minimum facility where these individuals are put to work cleaning up the nation, and other areas that will help them create a skill set while serving their sentence.
e. Automate our court system to create efficiency
f. Pay our police forces better and provide adequate tools. Stamp out corruption in the forces and the Minister should be commended for starting such a programme.
VOTING RIGHTS: – a right for all Guyanese local and international
This has been debated for decades and with various opinions from our politicians. We saw the introduction of a bill and subsequently passage in 2001, preventing a Guyanese from running for the top post that did not reside fulltime in Guyana for seven years.
This was a law pushed through by some of our leading politicians that are still in parliament while with the original parties.
Lately, I was surprised at the proposal by AFC parliamentarian, Sheila Holder, “anyone with dual citizenship is not allowed to serve in government or parliament”.
I totally disagree with such a proposal. We have senior Ministers such as Minister Ramsammy who has lived in Guyana for decades and has dedicated his life to serving Guyana.
To now say he cannot serve in Government is a slap to all Guyanese that may have left our shores and returned or even still, contribute to the development of our nation.
I am for a national consultation on allowing Guyanese around the world to be allowed to vote via absentee ballot.
Accountability and Transparency will first need to be established. I have moved back to Guyana and will have my seven years I need in order to aspire to the top job in Guyana. I would argue with anyone that I have not put my life, assets and commitment back into Guyana in order to improve the lives of our citizens.
Let us change this mentality that because you left Guyana for better opportunities you are no longer welcome. The worse treatment I received when I returned to Guyana was when a senior government official, Mr. Geoff DaSilva, said on Christopher Ram Show that “I should return to whence I came”.
I have the greatest respect for Ms. Holder and her contributions to this nation, but would advise that she cease from pushing the agenda to stop dual citizens from serving their nation in government.
We should be aggressively courting our overseas based Guyanese to come back, let us create self sufficient retirement communities with healthcare and other amenities in areas outside of the major city.
Let us welcome the professors that want to guest teach at our University; let us welcome the investors who want to come back and make a contribution and let us realize that we are and can still be one nation of many people, of many locations, but with one destiny— to make our homeland better for our newest generation.
Many of us on a daily basis lobby for better governance. We see the corruption daily, as validated by international organisations.
We see the corruption in concession to friends; we see the excessive expenditures without any accountability and transparency. We need your help to expose these corrupt practices.
Our Integrity Commission is non-functional and new changes must be instituted at all levels in order to see improvement. We know our overseas Guyanese want to see a change in the way we govern in order for them to put their investments in Guyana.
1. Set up a Caricom Integrity Commission where we can send information for action.
2. International Donors must stop just giving money without any accountability. Lately the EU gave 35M Euros to the government without any restrictions. This is promoting corruption and the ABC countries need to create specific measurements to track expenditures.
3. Imagine we get lots of money for HIV/AIDS and all we do is put up nice billboards and TV ads, but we have not built a nice hospice where people in advanced stages of illness can be comfortable.
Many new companies are popping up to capture the large budget on creating Ads. We need a more comprehensive programme in place for the use of the donor money. It seems we have a mentality since it is not our funds, let us just spend it.
I fully support a programme to unite Guyanese around the world for the betterment of our Nation. It is our goal to continue our outreach programmes and engage both the local and Diaspora in national consultations.
We have to stop making statements like, “where were they when we have stayed and struggled” We should be celebrating they left and now have expertise, money and a desire for all of us work together to help make their homeland better.
For those of us who live in Guyana, let us not take the money our families send us, but engage their help so that we can ultimately create jobs for us and curb the migration have faced again in the last decade and solicit there help to improve our nation. Working together can help us implement the vision. Until next time “Roop”
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