Eyewitness: Engaging…

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…Guyanese in foreign

There’s a whole heap of (fat) talk circulating about the “Guyanese Diaspora” …which is the fancy phrase for “Guyanese in foreign”. You know, the ones who, when they deign to visit their poor relatives in Guyana (and we’re all assumed to be poor since they were poor when they left) are always complaining about “the heat”. Even though Guyana never reaches the temperatures of NY or Florida during summer!

Anyhow, the talk is about “connecting” and “engaging” the Diaspora. Now, there’s no question that there’s a solid block of “foreign Guyanese” who’re seriously concerned about the old country. These are the first generation and certainly not their children – who may allude to their “Caribbean” roots but that’s about it. We saw the concern of that first generation ever since the NCM and intensifying after the PNC tried their old rigging trick. And what we saw was that whatever divisions our “Guyanese citizens” had in Guyana; they’d multiplied a thousand times in foreign.

Your Eyewitness couldn’t believe the vitriol (and he’s being diplomatic) that poured out from both sides of the divide. The few sane voices were simply drowned out in the rivers of hate. Now the “Diaspora” had always been engaged by both political parties for campaign contributions (or payments for lobbyists!) and by relatives here who lapped up the remittances. While the barrel shipments and cash remittances might’ve slowed down due to the challenges with COVID-19 in the States, the aid is still substantial.

Anyhow, what the hoopla’s all about is that Government (as opposed to the political parties) is hoping to tap into the talent and money of the foreign Guyanese to develop Guyana. And as such, need a more prestigious name for them than “Foreign Guyanese! Hence “Guyanese Diaspora”. The question is, will the foreign Guyanese get with the programme? But there’s no question that those who see Guyana as an attractive investment destination would’ve already hedged their bets by contributing to the elections campaign and have already made their pitch to the Government. The ones who contributed to the PNC would’ve written off their “investment”, since they won’t be so foolish as to believe that their elections petitions are going anywhere.

So the big question is, “Will those unengaged Guyanese who would’ve made it big in “foreign” take the plunge to invest in Guyana and/or return with their skills? Frankly, your Eyewitness doesn’t think so. Most of them would see the “risk” as too high…even if the developed countries go into recession after COVID-19. That’s just the way it is: they’ll never see the Guyana they left as an investment destination.

So, the Diaspora talk will be just a lot of hot air!

…cane farmers

The new Minister of Agriculture is a breath of fresh air in his new portfolio, But to be honest, that’s not such a great feat when you consider who his predecessor was. Noel Holder was about the foulest air that swept across the sector, which was the largest source of employment in the country and the only hope to stave off the dreaded Dutch Disease in the next few decades. Anyhow, Mustapha has already been in more rice and cane fields in two months than Holder did in five years!!

But more than getting his feet dirty, Mustapha has clearly shown he understands what needs to be done to turn around the sugar industry – which the PNC was determined to destroy. Earlier this week, he engaged the cane farmers at Skeldon and told them frankly that they were key to the turnaround of the facility that represented the only hope of sugar becoming viable in Guyana. That is what the Skeldon Modernisation was designed to do, but failed because of the factory.

But even the most perfect factory can’t produce sugar without sugar cane!!

…the State Media

The Chronic began its editorial on “The return of OMAI”, thusly: “GUYANA, a small English-speaking country in South America…”

So, its readers don’t know where Guyana is?