Nov 29, 2011 Letters
My father would always say, “Hit the nail on the head and witness the results after”. As a boy growing up, I have applied this principle to most aspects of my life and have counseled a host of young people on how and when to strike the nail.
Recently, one of my closest friends was entrapped in a predicament with the Public Service Ministry (PSM). He is a prudent lad returning from Cuba with an Engineering Degree and now working for one of the Government ministries.
His story echoes a thousand voices in all directions and from all walks of professional life in Guyana.
He explained that he is severely underpaid by the Ministry and that he cannot understand why.
He has a five-year work contract with the Government of Guyana and although he raised concerns about his salary, the Ministry unleashed a plethora of contract clauses that silenced him and soon after he conceded to the contractual agreement.
This lad claimed that they even threatened him with termination of his agreement and repayment of millions of dollars.
Isn’t studying in Cuba free? As far as I recalled, Cuba offers free scholarship to many nations in exchange for better bilateral relations, trade agreements, etc.
So far, there are hundreds if not thousands of graduates returning from Cuba with first degrees in medicine and various engineering fields and most of them are dissatisfied with the job arrangement that the Government imposed on them.
For my curiosity, I engaged quite a number of these graduates on Facebook with analytical questions.
Their responses would usually shock me to the core. Most of them would claim that they are entrapped in this country for a period of five years and if they wish to take a vacation to lovely Barbados or any other country, they will have to deposit $4M to the Public Service Ministry as surety. The surety I can understand but why so much? What was the real worth of the Government Funded Scholarship?
According to the medical graduates they would have to repay the Government approximately US$60,000 if they decided to through in the towel and migrate to some other country.
The engineers claimed about US$50,000. How PSM came up with such a figure is an unsolved mystery. This cost is ridiculously overwhelming and the people who conjured up such values are either scoundrels or very poor in accounts and economics.
Some of the graduates declared that they haven’t received their degree titles as yet and that the government would normally issue these titles after one year of their return to Guyana. Some were waiting for nearly two years. Why is the Government imposing such strict measures in containment of these graduates from Cuba?
We all know the answer to this modest question but can anyone figure out why graduates would want to migrate from our wonderful country in the first place?
If my predictions are correct, by 2017, a grand fraction of our professional population will be severely affected due to migration.
Most of our young professionals are Cuban-trained and this population was hand-picked by the government to develop our nation. However, most of them are eagerly counting down the time for the termination of their contract agreement and their eminent voyage to greener pastures.
The Government is fully aware of this and thus seeks to impose these esoteric restrictions on the graduates.
We all know how difficult it is to acquire a job in Guyana and even the graduates from the University of Guyana seek to migrate to the islands in the Caribbean. Let’s face it …everyone wants to be prosperous in this life and the sacrifices that these graduates made deserve to be highly recognized by the Government and their achievements should be acknowledged as a turning point in the reframing and reforming of Guyana’s future. The government should start thinking of the long-term effects and implications that would result in massive migration of our young professionals.
Government needs to reconstruct and discover new incentive schemes and discerning rumination packages that will attract and hopefully encourage these professionals to reside in Guyana and engage in the development of our great nation.
Government is obviously optimistic that most of these professionals would somehow “blend in” with the Guyanese trend and remain within the confines of Guyana, but this is a basic thinking disorder.
Sooner or later, most if not all, will discover that they can earn 100 times more in other countries situated in the Caribbean and migrate to these locations without looking back on the land they left behind.
Is this what we want? If this is what the President envisaged, when he acquired the scholarships from the Cuban Government and other countries, then so be it.
The next President will simply have the esteem privilege to pursue another 1000 scholarships from some other country within the next six years to replenish the exhausted professional population.
If this doesn’t hit the nail on its head then I will simply have to buy a new hammer.
PNC demanding answers for smuggled chicken early Sunday morning after church!
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