Guyana moves closer towards Diaspora policy

Last Updated on Friday, 6 January 2017, 17:13 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana has decided to set up a ministerial sub-committee to help craft a  Diaspora policy, following recent concerns by New York-based Guyanese that they are being left out of decision-making.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said the roadmap for crafting the Diaspora Engagement Policy has alread received support from, among others, the International Organisation of Migration (IOM).
He said Cabinet has agreed that a sub -committee comprising the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Public Security, State, Finance, Business and Citizenship has been appointed to examine proposals and advise on a final decision.
“What we hope to do is to be able to prepare a strategy which allows them to remain wherever they are and to be able to access information, to get decisions from government entities and agencies by just the click of a button on a computer. That is the direction in which we are moving,” Harmon told a post-Cabinet news conference.
Assurances that government is sticking to one of its campaign promises to engage the Diaspora in a structured manner has followed public concerns by a group of pro-government Guyanese in New York that they are being treated as outcasts although they had campaigned for  and  provided financiak support to APNU+AFC. They have also flayed government for failing to set up a Diaspora Commission or selecting an overseas-based Guyanese to be a parliamentarian.
Harmon said government is determined to ensure overseas-based Guyanese enjoy the ease of doing business in their homeland.
“We believe that it is important enough to ensure that our Guyanese in the diaspora that they have a specific point of reference on all of these issues,” he said.
The Minister of State said currently the point of reference is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through Guyana’s consulates, high commissions and embassies abroad. “Very often our Guyanese brothers and sisters in the diaspora come home and try to get services provided to them when they are here,” he said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge has assured overseas-based Guyanese that they are not being ignored, but his ministry is not an employment bureau.
President David Granger has called on overseas-based Guyanese to stop writing petitions and instead come back and invest in village economies.
He has said that he loves the Diaspora and has credited them with supporting him and his coalition’s election campaign.