Diaspora must be force of unity in Guyana’s transformation’ – Foreign Secretary
The Guyanese diaspora stands to be a force of unity in Guyana’s transformation, Foreign Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Robert Persaud has said.
He was delivering an address to the International Energy Conference and Expo at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown on Wednesday.
The foreign secretary reminded that the diaspora possesses key skills and resources, but of equal importance, he highlighted their ability to network, mobilise and expedite development in the country. He added that the government, through the ministry, has been engaging and attracting overseas based Guyanese as part of government’s foreign policy. Funds were also allocated in Budget 2022 to facilitate diaspora engagement and involvement.
“We have prioritised a number of areas. One, in terms of educating and informing the diaspora as to what is taking place in our country because they want to be aware. Secondly, we have looked at creating mechanisms; how is it that they can be involved, how can they be engaged so that they can play a part in what is taking place. A third component is that we see the diaspora as an element of what we call local content participation,” the foreign secretary explained.
He added that the government is not only seeking ways to make it economically viable for the diaspora to return to Guyana, but also to look at the social and other elements.
Enhancing ways for the government to connect with the second and third generations is something the ministry has embarked on, said Persaud.
Against this backdrop he said, “I am happy that the Minister of Sport is here because we have started a project working with his ministry where we are going after that cohort of the diaspora – the second and third generations and developing a youth volunteer programme similar to what some of you are familiar with in the United States like the Peace Corps.”
Such a project will indirectly inform them of what is going on in Guyana and the opportunities available for them.
“We want the diaspora to be a force of positive messaging. We want the diaspora to be a force of unity. We want the diaspora to be a force of transformation, but to let them also be a voice that they too, can add to positive messaging to help explain and to help understand what is being done in the country.”
Since returning to office, the PPP/C has been keen to ensure that the diaspora is engaged in the develop of Guyana. last year, the government held the first ever Diaspora Conference that sought to highlight the slew of ways the diaspora can easily tap into Guyana’s opportunities.