Mexico pulled the trigger. Why play games with the devil? Thus, a planeload of 300 Indians was returned to New Delhi. It was in one supercharged swoop to avoid US sanctions. There would be no tempting of fate through attracting the ire of Washington, DC.
In the European Union, there is that same kind of stirrings from the voters, with some corresponding tightening compelled. Previously liberal regimes and policies are now subject to varying degrees of pressure and calls for change ringing insistently. Too many immigrants. There is too much crime. There is too much stress on social services.
And, of course, there is the ever-present threat of lurking terroristic dangers. Unuttered was the complexion and national origins of a rising number of those coming to live in the midst.
Leaders, who were earlier broad-minded, have learned to cut their losses, slow down the waves of foreigners stepping ashore from trains, boats and planes. It is in this increasingly heated climate that far right political groups have gained strength in several European nations by their calls for a limiting of immigration numbers. That is the ticket, the now proven unbeatable trump card, that resonates with resentful native-born, who feel increasingly overwhelmed.
In Great Britain, one of the swirling undercurrents of the Brexit developments was the tide of discomfort over the presence of so many people speaking so many strange tongues, and who clog up neighbourhoods, dilute culture, and upend storied history. The clamours were heard from citizens looking to draw the line somewhere and the sooner the better.
In all of these places, there is sharp concern, hard sentiment and, at times, settled anger at swelling immigrant populations. There are the usual bogeymen of jobs, congested neighbourhoods, crowded schools, and all the timeless local passions that emerge usually due to one of two developments.
The first is that nobody pays much attention, or harbour great animosities when the economic times are good. On the other hand, when things get tight, then ugliness rears its nasty, mean-spirited head. Get rid of them! Too many of them! Send them back to where they came from. This gains traction.
Second, when aspiring political players sense an opening in immigration thinking, they drive a truck through it. They are known to capitalise by playing to the worst fears. No trick is too dirty. No extreme is too extreme. Some succeed through resorting to such unsavory subterfuges to incite hatreds, fear of crime, and still other conveniences.
Right here in Guyana, the concerns are intensifying, though still managed and somewhat muted. There are three areas of keen interest. There is the still roiling milieu of Haitians and why they are really here, wherever they are, and however accounted for officially.
Haitians have been effortlessly drummed up to unleash Guyanese ethnic suspicions. The alarming and unnerving have fallen into place almost reflexively, since the worst of speculations have been tabled. Meaning that these Caricom travellers are being misused for elections purposes, underhanded purposes.
Next, in view of the tremendous, ongoing unrest in Venezuela, besieged citizens-many times hungry, fearful, and hopeless–search desperately for the sanctuary provided by escape lanes. One of the routes offering relief is Guyana.
Though the precise number of Venezuelans in Guyana is still up in the air, several thousands have found refuge here, and with several more poised to come. In a country within touching distance of its own oil fables, but currently a place where a job is a gem, this poses a dilemma: how much is too much?
Then, there is the occasional jostling over the Trinidadian commercial presence in Guyana. It is neither invisible nor insignificant. Among the complaints are: it is a one-way street that benefits the incoming only. Such are the circumstances that foster flaring discontents and more strident resistances to even scanty foreign presences.
As all this is considered, one question is spotlighted: is this the beginning of the end of globalisation and the utopia about borderless, passport-less, faceless travel?
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