“Contrary to our friends (opposition parliamentarians), we are not averse to visitors or to having investors what we are saying is that Guyanese must have an equal play,” he told the House during debate on the 2015 National Budget.
Felix noted that applications for work permits for cooks and labourers are being made although Guyanese are available to fill those vacancies.
“We don’t want a lopsided situation is where our own people do not have access to our lands to do what other people are doing,” said Felix, a former Police Commissioner.
He provided statistics to show that in 2012, work permits totaling 1,050 were granted of which 991 were for Brazilians and 24 for Chinese. In 2013, authorities granted work permits to 462 Brazilians, while last year of the 744, Brazilians totaled 694. For this year 236 of the 304 were Brazilians who received work permits.
Felix said the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, which is part of the Ministry of the Presidency, was established to ensure that the interest of Guyanese are protected and preserved and “that our borders are not violated by those who are intent on perpetrating criminal activities.”
He assured that the David Granger-led administration intended to accommodate foreign investment but not at the expense of Guyanese. “We want the inflow of foreign money but we also want our people to benefit from the inflows that come in,” he said.