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|President urges Heads of Guyana’s missions to ‘court the diaspora’ --says locals can learn much from foreign-based countrymen|
|Monday, 09 July 2012 22:38|
PRESIDENT Donald Ramotar has called on Guyana’s Heads of Missions to engage the diaspora in making important contributions to the development of the country.
Yesterday, at the opening of a four-day conference of Guyana’s Heads of Missions at the Guyana International Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, President Ramotar made the following remarks: “You also have to stay engaged with our diaspora. Many of you operate in countries where we have in some areas a very big diaspora, and in some areas not so big, but important. But almost in every one of the countries that you are operating in, you will find Guyanese.”
“At one time, we use to see this as a big negative, as a great ‘brain drain’ that is taking place in our society; and I suppose we can still be justified in seeing it in that light, because some of the figures that we see about many of our qualified people that are abroad are startling; and even when you travel abroad you meet many, many Guyanese holding very important positions in different areas,” the President stated.
However, he noted, “Since we can’t do anything about that, we have to try to turn it to our advantage as much as we possibly can, and we have to tap into that diaspora to help the development of Guyana.”
“…and I made the point that we were not only looking to the diaspora from the point of view of direct economic development, in the sense that we would like to have access to the skills that Guyanese have acquired abroad, and those who have been successful in business to come and invest in our business; but there is another aspect of working with the diaspora that I think is very important for us,” he stated.
“Many of the Guyanese abroad are in very important positions in different places. They travel to different parts of the world, and because they are outside of Guyana, very often they can be very objective in what is taking place here, and they can make important contributions also from the point of view of fertilizing our own ideas in Guyana.”
Acknowledging that sometimes they can be too long abroad and get a little bit detached, President Ramotar insisted, “…but also, on the other hand, they can bring new perspectives to us, and they can bring best practices from what they see operating in different places that can help us in the development of our own society as well.”
He encouraged the Heads of Missions to be open to those ideas, pointing out, “You are the ones that are the first contact with those people, and we should, in our local and national level here, try to create the environment and the structures.”
President Ramotar reiterated that mechanisms have to be created within the society itself, and in the missions “so that we can benefit from the professional skills that have now been acquired; that we can benefit from the capital that many Guyanese who have become very, very successful abroad that they have now; and we can benefit from the ideas that they would have acquired in their day-to-day work and in their travels in different parts of the world,” he outlined.
He noted that the image of Guyana must also be one of being a country that is efficient, and this is another area in which the locals can learn a lot from many foreign-based Guyanese who have worked in different areas.
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