May 16, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The Guyana Government will on Monday kick off an official outreach to Guyanese living overseas, for what it calls “A New Era of Engagement for the Guyanese Diaspora.”
The activity, which will take the form of a Virtual Diaspora Conference, will be spearheaded by Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud, out of the Conference Room of Ramphal House, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive and Charlotte Street, Georgetown.
The activity, according to the organisers, is in keeping with the promise made by President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, “to aggressively pursue the involvement of the Diaspora in national development.”
As such, the conference seeks to provide a platform of exchange between the Government and the Diaspora.
Persaud, Guyana’s Foreign Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that the Diaspora cannot be excluded from any development plans for the country, concerning its emerging Oil and Gas sector. This, Persaud opined, is given the enormous potential that exists in the Diaspora and not domiciled in-country.
He gave the views during a recent a panel discussion on ‘Labour and Migration’ in Guyana which was hosted by the American Chambers of Commerce in Guyana (AmCham). At the time, he had underscored that, several countries across the world have turned to their respective Diaspora populations, for not only political purposes, but also economic development.
The Foreign Secretary had divulged at the time, that Guyana is currently pursuing a ‘Migration Policy’ for the country that would guide the inflows of the domestic labour market and deal with inherent issues of citizenship.
Pressing the incorporation of members of the Diaspora as a priority in national developmental plans, Persaud underscored that the Diaspora is teeming with not only skills currently in demand in the country but with capital support that could be honed for domestic investments.
According to Persaud, the anticipated boom in the emerging oil industry in Guyana is also being seen as a boom for those in the Diaspora looking to invest or contribute. Building on the promulgation of a migration policy, he noted a commitment to best incorporate migrant labour into the domestic economy, in order to not only ensure humane treatment of migrants but to ensure the domestic population is not affected by xenophobic tendencies.
According to Persaud, there must also be the acknowledgement of the skills gap locally and how best to source this from the Diaspora and elsewhere.
The Foreign Secretary’s position was voiced following the initial announcement of the virtual Diaspora conference, which is expected to see the participation of President, Irfaan Ali, as a featured guest. Persaud said key agencies like the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) would participate.
According to the Foreign Secretary, the conference is seen as one part of forging ahead with the government’s plan of engaging and involving the Diaspora to support its national development priorities.
He had noted that, with the work done in recent months, the recently reintegrated Diaspora Unit was able to detect interest in the Diaspora and will use the conference to start the level of engagement needed.
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