GUY$38M initiative to woo young diasporans home

Guyana’s Foreign Secretary, Robert M. Persaud.
Guyana’s Foreign Secretary, Robert M. Persaud.

Some GY$38 million was air-marked by Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation in collaboration with the International Organization of Migration (IOM), to woo young diasporans to return home to share their skills and expertise to develop the Republic.

Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud, in a recent press conference, called the program, innovative, and explained that the project “authorizes those involved to go directly after the second and third generation of Guyanese living in the diaspora with the hope of convincing them to return home “to serve, to volunteer, work with the government and private sectors, civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and groups in need of support.”

“This is a crucial element because we don’t want to lose the second and third generation of Guyanese living overseas and them losing interest and missing out on the opportunity here,” Persaud told the News Room recently.

The politician however, made it clear “that these efforts were in no way intended to give preferential access and opportunities to persons living abroad at the disadvantage of persons living in Guyana.”

“I want to make it absolutely clear that our emphasis on the diaspora is not to the disadvantage of persons who have lived here, worked and study here and perhaps made the sacrifice of staying on because sometimes I think people see it as a competition. It is not.”

“For us, it is about how we can complement the progress we are making, as it were, to further support the government’s vision and developmental drive and the president’s own efforts to transform the country. So it is utilizing the resource out there, and see what we can attract to support what we have here. So it is not taking away opportunities from persons here. I want to make that absolutely clear,” he posited, according to the Guyana News Room.

A new unit was established as part of enhancing the government’s plans of engaging and involving the Diaspora to support its national development priorities, allowing for an enhanced, sustained, and coordinated engagement with all Guyanese abroad.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Transport and Harbours Department, Rosalinda Rasul will head the unit.

Foreign Service Staffer and former Head of the Consular Section of Guyana’s Embassy in Belgium, Leroy Adolphus, will support Rasul in her duties of leading the government’s diaspora engagement.

Persaud said the new unit would be focused on better harnessing the expertise, talent, and investment potential within the global Guyanese community.

He said a 2020 analysis done by the Washington based Center for Strategic and International Studies noted that as a consequence of steady emigration, only about half of Guyanese now live within the boarders of Guyana, while the remainder are scattered in diaspora communities across the world.

As such, in order to stem the phenomenon, the People’s Progressive Party government has been keen in its efforts to not only stem migration, but to motivate Guyanese living abroad to return home.

In preparation for the response that has been positive, Persaud assured that a re-migrant scheme has been streamlined to ensure efficiency, as more and more citizens continue to re-migrate to Guyana, that statistic will show.

“There has been a steady flow of Guyanese from the region, neighboring countries, Suriname and Venezuela,” he said, and posited that as part of enhancing its plan of engagement and involving the Diaspora to support its national development priorities, the government has reintegrated diaspora and re-migration matters in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

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