By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The marginal reduction of 3,339 of Guyana’s population, as recorded in the preliminary report of the 2012 Population Census is most disturbing, according to Opposition Leader David Granger.
“It is disturbing that a country like ours should be exporting people at such a rate,” the Opposition Leader said in an invited comment.
He told iNews that the results in the report indicate that there are very serious social and economic problems in Guyana; adding that this reasoning is supported by the figures in relation to immigrant visas issued annually by the United States Embassy.
Guyana’s population now stands at 747,884 having been 751,223 when the previous population count was conducted in 2002.
Granger believes migration remains a threat to the population growth and said this point to weaknesses in governance and the administration’s ability to ensure country is safe.
“When I went to the United States in June many persons indicated their unwillingness to return or invest in Guyana because of crime and economic situation.
“People are running from crime,” he said, further explaining that a visit to Region Six, which also recorded a drop in its population, would show that there are a lot of empty and abandoned houses.
He said too that other statistics show that 4 out of 5 university graduates are leaving Guyana because of lack of job opportunities.
In fact, Chief Statistician and Census Officer Lennox Benjamin explained that migration continues to be the major factor in the decline of Guyana’s population.
He recalled that the country’s population had peaked in 1980 and has never been able to regain that level despite increases in birth rate.
“The net migration factor remains the biggest influence,” Benjamin had stated.
The preliminary report census outlined broad parameters and failed to provide details on ethnic composition of the population, unemployment rate and foreign born population among others. These datails are expected to be provided next year.
However, Granger observed that the preliminary report did point to demographicshift in terms of age “this means people are living longerand it recommends changes in NIS and social protection.”
He said too that there was need for careful analysis of the data since it points to the need for policy change in terms of human safety and economic prospects.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh had said that the government places a great deal of importance on the census since it is used to make “evidence based public policies.”
He said the periodic endeavor is important in ensuring the country generates an accurate national snap shot and associated profile of the country’s demographic.