President Ali touts role for Diaspora in Guyana’s development

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali addressing the gathering at the inauguration
His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali addressing the gathering at the inauguration

The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration intends to work collaboratively with Guyanese in the Diaspora as they too have a stake in the development of their homeland.

This was revealed by President Dr Irfaan Ali on Saturday during his maiden address, as Head of State, to the nation at his inauguration ceremony held at the National Cultural Centre (NCC) in Georgetown.

“We must welcome back to their homeland our diaspora who played such a positive and constructive role in defense of our democracy,” Dr Ali said.

President Ali noted that while many Guyanese reside abroad, their love and commitment to their country have not changed and this was “passionately demonstrated” over the last five months.

“My government intends to embrace Guyanese abroad as we enlist them here at home,” Dr Ali asserted.

He posited that Guyana must no longer be counted as one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere.

The Head of State said that his administration, over the next five years, will build “a ladder in which we will climb to the mountain top in unity.”

“We must no longer be scorned or treated contemptuously anywhere in the world,” he noted.

President Ali outlined that this country belongs to all Guyanese and everyone has an equal right to live and work here and contribute in whatever way they can.

The Guyanese Diaspora and how they can contribute to the country’s development has always been a subject of much discussion in the past.

More often than not, discussions have been focused on how the authorities could encourage the thousands of Guyanese living outside of Guyana to return and contribute to the country’s development.

The major oil discoveries have caused Guyana to be placed in the international spotlight and many Guyanese in the Diaspora have expressed an interest to return to work or invest here.

Successive PPP administrations have previously reached out the Diaspora and have implemented certain systems aimed at attracting them to return or engage in some way with their homeland.

For example, the remigrant scheme was designed to give every Guyanese desirous of returning home an opportunity to be exempted from certain taxes etc once they decide to settle permanently here. Many remigrants have already taken advantage of this facility.

As part of its massive housing drive, the PPP Government had also developed lands that remigrants could have accessed at affordable prices.

The mass exodus of Guyanese had started in the early 1960s under the Forbes Burnham dictatorship when the economy was facing total collapse. There were no proper jobs; social services were almost non-existent; and there was a sense of hopelessness all over the country.