President of Guyana, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, during a business forum at the Hilton Hotel JFK on Sept. 24, called on diasporans to put their energies toward opportunity, and not negativity, saying, “we are ready to work with you, knock on the door, the opportunities are there, and we want you to be a part of it. I am very proud of members of the diaspora, who came and expressed interest in investing in Guyana.”
The head-of-state, who addressed the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly recently, was forced to host three forums instead of one, due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions, and was quick to dismiss what he called false narrative that “seeks to divide us and take us apart.”
“I thank all of you for being here. This is my first trip since the elections, and because of all the work you would have done, and your support of democracy, ensuring that the rule of law prevailed, the people in Guyana and the diaspora are stronger, better and more unified.”
He said, instead of being negative, Guyanese should embrace a forward, progressive agenda that will take Guyanese, whether black or brown, united as one, equally towards the future.
He said his government is ready to support investment and will provide and enable infrastructure, calling on Guyanese to move away from the mindset of investing individually, since many investments in Guyana need large capital. He advised, consortium and partnership would be well suited to the huge opportunities available in the Republic.
“We will pay to have Guyanese trained in specialized ISO certified welding, and build agro-processing plants, to enable these opportunities,” he said, sharing that US Mount Sinai Health System, has expressed an interest in building a specialized hospital, that would provide primary healthcare, and preventative health. The government will also partner with the institution to create a “One Health” medical card.
Using the Guyana American school, as an example on how investments are urgently needed, the politician said the fee per term has increased from GY$3000, to GY27,000, because of supply and demand, and encouraged Guyanese to invest in education.
“You can’t sit back and follow the negative conversation that is taking place,” he said, and lambasted some nationals who have been peddling false information about Guyana.
He said crime is on the decline and his government is addressing it, whether small, petty or large.
“We are working on an IT network to use cameras in crime fighting, and outfitting policemen with bodycams, for transparency,” Ali said.
Noting that many things are happening at the same time that will create an exciting environment for a future of a sustainable prosperity for Guyanese, the politician who said the People’s Progressive Party is focused on social development, addressed claims that his government is giving handouts.
“I find this statement to be very obnoxious. It is not handouts. In every society there is a gap, and we have to find ways in bridging that gap so that we could have equitable development to prevent the widening of disparity in lower and higher income. That is the rule of a government and a way of keeping balance in society,” explained the president.
Ali, who was accompanied by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, and Robert Persaud, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Int. Corporation, and Fazal (Joe) Yussuff, MPA, Investment & Diaspora Affairs at the Consulate General of Guyana to New York at the head table, said there was an enthusiasm for building a new city, and assures that the plan will look at different models akin to those in Rwanda and Dubai, being pursued by investment companies.
“All of the development will be supported by a public sector investment program to transform the country, however, Guyanese must be a part of the process. We have need for expertise. But investors must come with an understanding, whereby locals will be a part of those opportunities.”
He said the country is regaining its prominence on the world stage getting back its credentials and leadership capabilities on climate change, noting that in the last week, VP Jagdeo forged a collaboration with the Suriname, Barbados, Maldives, and Columbia governments, with a very definitive manner as to where Guyana stands.
President Ali will also welcome President of Kenya, Uhura Kenyatta, to Guyana in the very near future for bilateral talks.