President Ali to headline virtual diaspora conference next month

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, will lead a virtual diaspora conference on May 22, aimed at further sensitising overseas-based Guyanese about the opportunities available in their homeland.

The conference is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and will include a host of other Government officials and agencies.

Foreign Secretary, Mr. Robert Persaud

Foreign Secretary, Mr. Robert Persaud, said while the pandemic has restricted physical contact, the virtual platform will allow for the fulfilment of Government’s vision.

“That’s a very important conference, where we will have the President and other Government leaders, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, other sector ministers that are relevant, take for instance tourism, perhaps in the housing sector because a lot of people have those issues.

The Guyana Revenue Authority, perhaps the Minister of Finance himself, the Guyana Office for Investment, we will have a number of agencies and ministries where we have detected there have been interest in the diaspora.”

Since it would be held virtually, the conference could accommodate wider participation.

Mr. Persaud added that they would be using the traditional and new media to pull off the event.

“But also, pre and post, so persons who may not be able to log on at that time, may still be able to benefit from the discussions as well as the outcome,” the Foreign Secretary said.

The PPP/C Government, since its return to office last year, has been urging Guyanese overseas to return home.

In February, President Ali announced that the Government would be establishing a Diaspora Council which would harness the innovative ideas and human resource capacity of citizens overseas.

Earlier, in January, the President said his Government was also create an enabling environment for persons should they choose to return home and invest.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had also launched a Remigration Brochure, which aims to make the process easier for persons to resettle here.

Some $50 million has been set aside in Budget 2021 to facilitate diaspora engagement. The Foreign Secretary said the allocation demonstrates the Government’s commitment to the programme.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry is engaging its Heads of Missions, Consuls General and Honorary Consuls across the world to reach Guyanese in their jurisdictions. Engagements have already begun in the tri-state area of New York, with approaches to other groups in Atlanta, Washington DC, and Toronto, Canada. Efforts are also being made to conclude engagements in the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, Mr. Persaud gave assurances that the Government’s emphasis on the diaspora, would not be to the disadvantage of persons who have lived, worked and studied in Guyana.