EYEWITNESS: Closing the gates…

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…of the USA

There was, in the New York Times a week ago, an extended piece on some proposed radical changes to the US Immigration law, introduced by two Republican Senators. What was interesting was the Times used Guyanese immigrants in New York to illustrate the biggest impact the changes would precipitate. Seems that while tiny Guyana is punching way beyond its weight class in sending immigrants to America, we’re numero uno when it comes to using the option of naturalised citizens sponsoring their “immediate” relatives.

And if the law is passed, this is what will be cut by a whopping 50%!! The bill – “Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act, or the RAISE”, will now define -: (1) “immediate relative” as the less-than-21-year-old child or spouse of a U.S. citizen, and (2) “family-sponsored immigrant” as the under-21-year-old child or spouse of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence. So this means that sponsorship of adult children – many of them with their own large brood of children – by citizens might soon be over!! This is presently the largest category under which the 7000+immigrants that Guyana sends annually to America falls.

Trump – not surprisingly – supports the Bill, since it fits in with his anti-immigrant narrative that condemns them for “taking away jobs” from Americans. The Bill also moves to introduce the Canadian system — that encourages specific types of persons that they want through the allocation of “points” in these categories. If you’re a multi-millionaire (in US dollars!!), or an Olympic winner (say Bolt!) or a nuclear physicist …you get the idea – then you’re in. Fluent English also helps; creole or “bruk-up” doesn’t count!”

While the Times commented on the impact of the bill on the present tsunami of remittances that end up in Guyana from the Guyanese immigrant community, they missed another, possibly more significant one; to wit, the devastating impact of the half of Guyana that have their “papers in” and who’ve put their lives on hold for the duration. In the case of adult married children, that might be up to ten years!! As the old calypso said, “Some a dem guh hallah; some a dem guh bawl”!! It’s a good thing UG’s collaborating with York University to introduce a “Social Work” Masters programme; social workers might be needed!

While your Eyewitness is no Marxist, if most of the “papered” Guyanese are forced to remain in Guyana, it should also heighten the revolutionary potential of the masses. If half of the population left since independence, but we’re still just above Haiti – imagine when that safety valve’s turned off.

Fyaah in Babylon!!

…on business culture?

Guyana is slowly – too slowly – learning how real business is conducted in the rest of the world when corporations from the developed North are involved. Even though we’ve been independent for over 50 years, during more than half of those years under Burnham, we were busy nationalising the few such corporations that were in Guyana — and then running them into the ground. We’ve been trying to play “catch up” ever since.

In the world of business – we repeat for the umpteenth time – a corporation HAS to seek to make profits by whatever means legal! And they’ll push the envelope on that!! It doesn’t matter if an owner is the world’s biggest philanthropist, like Bill Gates, Microsoft still plays hardball when dealing in the world of business. The point of it all, your Eyewitness is saying, is that we shouldn’t be whining about Exxon or GTT trying to maximise their returns; they’re serving their shareholders’ interest.

It’s the Government of Guyana that has to protect OUR interests – by any means necessary!

 …on constitutional reform

The British High Commissioner wants it. The US Ambassador wants it. The Carter Centre wants it. The UNDP wants it.

But the billion-dollar question is: Does the Government of Guyana want Constitutional Reform?

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