Ramotar wants diplomats to help turn brain-drain into advantage

Ramotar wants diplomats to help turn brain-drain into advantage

JULY 10, 2012 | BY  |    …says migration figures ‘startling’

Admitting that the country’s migration figures are “startling,” President Donald Ramotar yesterday urged the country’s diplomats to turn that “brain drain” into an advantage for the country.
He said that while Guyanese in the Diaspora could be encouraged to invest home, their expertise and skills in various areas could also  help to fashion successful development programmes here.

President Donald Ramotar, Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds with Guyana’s diplomats at the opening of a conference yesterday.

Diplomats stationed as far away as Kuwait, China and India were flown into the country for a one-week conference that the government hopes would orient them about its vision for the country.
The conference of Guyanese diplomats serving overseas and in Guyana is usually organized when a government changes.
Ramotar joked about the fact that he once heard a story whereby taxi driver in Iceland looked around at a passenger and asked in Guyanese accent “What happen deh bro?”
His point was that in any part of the world, there is a Guyanese, but he said that does not necessarily have to be continued to be seen in a negative light, even if the number of educated Guyanese migrating remains startling.
“Since we can’t do anything about that, we have to try to turn it to our advantage as much as we possibly can,” he stated.
The President said that the help could not only be in the form of direct economic development, namely investment, but the country could also do with access to their skills.
He noted that many Guyanese abroad hold key positions and can therefore “fertilise” development ideas here.
He said that they can bring new perspectives and best practices that can help develop Guyanese society.
In addition, diplomats were told that since Guyana is a small country unable to provide jobs for its people, overseas investment is needed and said that diplomats can help in attracting such investment.
Ramotar said that the diplomats can help paint an image of Guyana as a country that is efficient.
He said neither the private nor public sector has the resources to carry out projects that would increase production and productivity and to create jobs for a growing educated population and therefore the country needs to attract investments from abroad.
He urged the diplomats to help create partnerships and alliances with governments and businesses abroad since investments are vital to the country’s development.
Ramotar said that for this to happen, the diplomats would need to paint the “true picture” of Guyana.
He said that Guyana must be seen as a reliable partner that takes it decisions seriously.
“Your job becomes more important to us in order to ensure that the image of our country is not damaged,” Ramotar said as he sought their help in correcting what he described as a tainted perception of Guyana which some sections of the media are guilty of propagating.
“It also affects our economic well being… we don’t have all the resources either in our private sector or in our public sector to have all the investments that we will need to develop our country… we have to ensure that the true picture of our country is well known abroad,” President Ramotar said.
The President said that the government also sees its foreign missions as integral to the country’s territorial integrity which President Ramotar said must be protected at all times even while simultaneously publicising world peace.
“Our whole outlook must be one of building world peace because only within an atmosphere of peace in the world will we be able to fulfill many of the plans that we have,” President Ramotar said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues, told the diplomats that foreign policy is being conducted in an evolving international environment and there diplomacy needs to move beyond what is traditional.
She urged the diplomats to incorporate in their agendas issues such as external trade, climate change, sustainable development, human rights and migration
She said that technology has made communication faster and has blurred the lines of bureaucracy that once existed in foreign missions, but she said this is a process that must nevertheless be managed.
Rodrigues apprised the diplomats of some developments in the country’s foreign policy since the last conference was held in 2003.
She noted that the country’s prominence in the international arena proliferated when former President Bharrat Jagdeo was conferred the Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in 2010.
President Ramotar called on Guyana’s overseas missions to help popularise the country’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) which is benefitting from funds generated through the Guyana/Norway forest carbon services arrangement.
The partnership which evolved out of Jagdeo’s Initiative on Avoided Deforestation, saw Guyana earning about US$70M in performance-based payments from avoided deforestation and under which the country can earn up to US$ 250 M by 2015.
Both Ramotar and Rodrigues urged the diplomats to help consolidate relations with traditional partners and to look to other frontiers.
Guyana plans to establish a diplomatic mission in  South Africa, she announced.
Minister Rodrigues reported that Guyana’s relations with Suriname and Venezuela were taken to a higher level with the latter country importing rice from Guyana for the first time and hosting former President Jagdeo on a state visit.

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  • Cyril Balkaran  On 07/10/2012 at 12:15 pm

    The call by the President for Guyanese with skills to contribte to the development of their country through services that they can rander home as they occupy very important positions in the country they reside. The “Brain Drain can be an advantage”
    The history of human development has shown that man is never satisfied with his present lot in life. He always wants a betterment and will always push for that betterment. Given the environment and the encouragement, he will indeed better himself, his family situation and the society that he comes from.
    It is expected that when these diplomats heed the call of the President, more things will happen and that the infrastructure will be put in place to allow the anticipated inputs by the willing Guyanese to happen smoothly.
    There must also be a list of priorities for the diplomats to act on and for their Publicity Campaign to commence.
    The invititation must come from President Ramoutar himself making that kind of appeal which he made at the one week Seminar for the diplomats.
    Exerpts of his address must be clipped on the profile of the President with that specific appeal and sent out to all Embassies. The Government Information Division should start on these items so that the returning Diplomats can take numerous copies back to their embassies for distribution and communication. A special person must be assigned to fast track the incoming patrons who may wish to contribute to such a call!
    This is not the first time that a President is making such a call and if the mechanism is not in place then such efforts based on voluntarism can easy go awry.
    The embassadors have to prioritize what they want to sell to the persons who may want to contribute to the National Development Plan for Overseas Returning Residents or Simply Overseas Investment Plans for Contributing Nationals.
    Then the FOLLOW UP ACTION PLAN to be put in place for immediate Investment Opportunities!
    Spelling out the Areas of Priority Action.
    Land Development.
    Small scale Wooden Housing Development Models for Export
    Agriculture (Small and large Holdings) Aqua culture.
    Fisheries for Exportation
    Fresh Fruits as pineapples, mangoes, papaws for exportation.
    Cultural Exchange Programs
    People must be encouraged to revisit the country and see the opportunities for themselves.
    Tourism and ways to explore the hinterland.
    The country’s wild life and eco tourism development.
    The Reception that the returning residents get on arrival is important.
    The long lines at the Airport and the baggage issues must be addressed.
    The Direct Investment Opportunity must be available on hand for perusal
    Real Estate and hinterland development must go hand in hand.
    The divestment of travel by water routes as water taxis must be explored
    as it saves time in travelling from point A to B.
    Promotion of small Familiarization Tourage packages for the Interior.
    The Gold Mines in the Potaro and Mazaruni Basin.
    The list can continue but the ground work has to be laid by the ambassadors and their embassy staff with collaboration from the several ministries and Ministers in
    The Ideas of the President can work and must be given priority through some media publicity.
    Contributions must come from the list of Priorities
    Education, Agriculture, Health, Tourism are generally the common areas that may need to be prioritized for immediate attention.

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 07/10/2012 at 12:37 pm

    This question of brain drain and externel migration will continue to plague Guyana for many years to come. The Negative publicity that is generated inside the country and the lack of efforts to counter such publicity will keep Guyanese from even thinking of planning a trip home due to all these negatives. No matter how much one loves Guyana there are certain things that a citizen who has lived in a developed country for 5, 10,15,20 yeras will not be able to accept and tolerate on a return visit. You know what those things are that disturb you most on your return home to attend a funeral. or a wedding or to visit the sick and ailing family. The recent and continuing business of all this CORRUPTION in and out of Government and people stealing the wealth of the nation. The 65 members of the Nation’s Parliament playing games with the country’s development are all things that hurt us. These so called big men cannot resolve the nation’s business and so criminals take charge both day and night. How to come to terms with these unmentioned issues that are for real. Who will help who in Guyana. Never the less, life continues and people have learnt how to get by with all these scenarios over the last half a century! Guyana is still a lovely place and with courage and goodwill things will get better. Mistakes have been made and people continue to make them every day and perhaps that is the reason why
    some one million Guyanese with their relatives and families choose to continue to live abroad unto this day!

  • NDTewarie  On 07/10/2012 at 1:33 pm

    My heart bleeds for my forever Guyana
    But i prefer to take the cold in Canada
    In canada when I go to sleep at nights
    I’ve no fear when i switched off my lights
    When I go about around my town
    I don’t fear what’s coming aroun’
    When I landed at the airport man!
    I think i was really in a different lan’
    From Customs to my destination
    I’m scared that will be my extinction
    I’ve friends who’re glad to hear bells chime
    But the Gov’t. gave them such a hard time
    They had to pack up and leave Guyana
    And come back to cold safe Canada

    Hey I love guyana and like Cyril Balkarran said:
    “Guyana is still a lovely place and with courage and goodwill things will get better. Mistakes have been made and people continue to make them every day and perhaps that is the reason why some one million Guyanese with their relatives and families choose to continue to live abroad unto this day!”

    But its never too late, I’m in my twilight years but I would love to retire in Guyana but not if I’ll get killed for my pension?

  • cecil o archibald  On 07/10/2012 at 11:43 pm


  • Cyril Balkaran  On 07/11/2012 at 1:12 pm

    WE must first establish the DIALOGUE, and having done so, then we must come to a mutually AGREED POSITION, and from there we will start all over again to do as you suggest. This is how civil society in the 21st century must operate or else the alternatives will be disaster. Do you want an ungovernable country or do you want a Suriname type of politics. It is always difficult in politics to control a democratic and multi ethnic society. We must take statesman like action and allow enough time for the results. We must not sit down and be trampled upon and we must halt the outward migration. When this is done there will be enough in numbers to confront an inconsiderate and uncaring government. The rule of Law must prevail. You must not have one law for the Governed and another for those who govern!

  • Romona Greene  On 07/19/2012 at 8:53 pm

    I am so excited to read the encouragement of the government trying to plead with Guyanese abroad to come and help to build Guyana.Lets hope that the government offices are willing to help, be courteous, be polite and honest when we come to offer our ideas and physical co-operation. We love our country and want only the best where possible. Well done Mr Ramotar.

  • Ben Khan  On 03/22/2013 at 11:16 am

    I’m sure many would like to invest in Guyana, but,first thing to do, please clean up all the corruption, starting with the government

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