Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar called on a packed room of nationals in the New York Marriott Hotel recently, to share their skills to develop their homeland, during his address to launch the Guyana Diaspora (GUYD) Project, under the theme “Lets Build Guyana Together.”
“New York is home to the largest concentration of Guyanese abroad, so there is no better place to launch this project than in New York, New York,” said Romotar who asserted that the Diaspora is becoming increasingly pivotal to the development of “our country.”
Ramotar thanked William Lacy Swig, director general of the International Organization for Migrations with whom the government of Guyana is collaborating, Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Ambassador Bayney Karran and Consul General Evans, before welcoming expatriates to the launch.
“I have the honor of welcoming you to the “Guyana Diaspora Project. Guyanese overseas would like to give back and would like to know how to go about doing so,” said the president.
The Guyana government he continued always had a policy in place to make use of the good will, skills, and human and material resources in the Diaspora to further Guyana’s natural development. What is lacking thus far he noted, is the mechanism by which the resources could be married to Guyana’s priority.
“The Diaspora Project is a structured way for natives to share their ideas and skills. This information will be entered into a database and be readily available when expertise is needed for vital projects,” he added.
Stating that migration in the past was referred to as a ‘brain-drain’ Ramotar explained that this is no longer the case due to modern technology that has kept expatriates connected to their families, and their country’s development.
“Guyanese have clearly not forgotten their homeland because every where I’ve visited, citizens have offered their assistance. And even though at times I didn’t immediately know exactly where to use these skills, they are definitely needed to boost the public and private sectors,” said the president.
He identified the Guyana Sugar Company as one such entity that was in need of skilled help to maintain its Skeldon factory so that it coul function at its full potential.
“Some of you have reached the top of your professions, and have travelled the world and acquired knowledge. These are the skills from which we would benefit enormously,” said President Ramotar.
The head of state is depending on a new prospective from the overseas Guyanese that he said would detract from the country’s troublesome politics.
“Because you are in America you will bring a more objective approach to moving our country forward,” he added
The president admited that some reports in the press about corruption in Guyana were true, and planed to fight it. However, issues of corrupt road projects were unjust, said Ramotar who blamed mediocre work on unskilled contractors.
He said structural development was booming, and as such, contractors were overworked and finding it difficult to complete jobs on time and on budget. Another reason he said was that Guyana needed foreign contractors to bid on projects so that “we can ensure that we get value for our money.”
“Our country is moving at a rapid pace,” said Ramotar noting that the International Development Bank and the Chinese Development Bank, have made a financial commitment to fund the hydroelectric power plant, expected to be completed in four years.
The indigenous population in the hinterland areas of Guyana, he said, will also benefit from 1100 solar panels to bring them in line with Guyana’s energy development.
Director General William Lacy Swig commended the citizens by saying that the project marks the first of a giant step their government has undertaken to build a close partnership towards development.
To learn more about the Guyana Diaspora Project, visit www.guydproject.iom.int.