The Diaspora is a diminishing Phenomenon – By Hubert Williams


    By Hubert Williams

Boston, Massachusetts — Nostalgia is a constant repetition of a lived experience; so few children based outside of their parents’ home country and who have not really shared their parents’ past should be expected to feel as fervently as their parents do about the “homeland”… so, with each succeeding generation, I expect that the fervour about “our home” will be increasingly depleted, as will the flow of “remittances”, barrels and sundry packages which have helped considerably to sustain relatives during those parlous times in Guyana approaching the end of the last century… and even up to now.

What applies to Guyana is as well the experience of Barbados and other Commonwealth Caribbean countries where the human flow outwards followed Independence, burgeoning economic stringencies and social challenges – not the least of them being corruption, crime and violence. 

The signs are clear of the changes which time brings. And I have noted them well. Those highly publicized Guyanese school reunions in Canadian, American and British cities – and occasionally in Guyana itself – tell the tale of passing times… balding heads, graying hair and changing bodies – a Diaspora of the aged and ageing. Seldom does one see young people among them, except it is a planned special event for youngsters. And the same applies when one sees photographs of who are the repeatedly active personnel in Guyanese associations overseas.  Obviously, their passion is not matched by the fervour of their progeny. And that is normal.

I myself am experiencing at first hand the phenomenon of diminished interest among the younger generation. Change is slow, but yet very evident… and understandable…. Though, it must be said that there are some values which my own children brought out of the Guyana of the 1970s that were sustained in Barbados, then in the United States of America, and are being applied to their own children: e.g., that the values of the home must always override the temptations and indiscipline – indeed, the nonsense – of the street.

In the earlier days following their transition from Barbados for university education at outstanding institutions like Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Drexel and Boston Universities in the United States, going ‘home’ for the holidays (sometimes accompanied by American classmates) meant going to Barbados.

Almost always, the firmest of young people’s friendships are formed at high school and university (those very precious teenage years) – far less so at the kindergarten level. Thus those are the friendships that have endured into their family relationships, and have extended among their children. Little wonder then that my children’s best friends are Barbadians and Americans.

However, over time, actual contact with ‘down south’ has lessened considerably because of factors that have little to do with culture, and a lot to do with having young children and the high cost of travel to the Caribbean and South America. It is considerably less costly for my entire family to spend the annual August vacation on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts than to, say, go to Barbados (or, even more expensively, Guyana).

Once when we made the trip from Boston to Barbados, it took about 14 hours from wake-up to reaching the place of accommodation on the island… and the long trips to and from were not the most comfortable for a baby less than a year old.

In addition, Caribbean tourism destinations like Barbados seem not to have as yet awakened to the desires of the modern traveler: a family of 8 or 10 still face what I deem the hassle of filling out a long and detailed immigration form for each member; and on arrival, most times from the wintry cold, must step out of the aircraft into the blast of nearly 90 degree weather – as there are still no air bridges.

Another major factor – perhaps the principal one – is that airlines have been jacking up their prices considerably (forever chasing higher profits) and changing the rules of the game. On airlines like American, fares are now prodigious… no food is served… blankets, pillows and legroom are priced… all checked luggage carry a cost… and change-of-date travel carries a penalty almost the price of a trip on a competing airline.

Because of such negative factors, as time passes, new choices are being made and other destinations are increasingly upstaging mom-and- dad’s home countries in the Caribbean as first choices for vacations. Many Guyanese resident in the USA choose other areas of that country in which to spend their vacations – mostly the south-eastern coast and the west coast.

Yes, things have been changing… slowly, but decisively. My Guyanese friend long resident in Germany, who periodically came to Barbados (owns land in Atlantic Shores, Christ Church) have not done so for quite some time. The family has been going to Spain, France and Portugal for their vacations (costs to Barbados too high and too much time taken up travelling)… and most members of my family in England, long resident there, now almost always opt for holidays in some other parts of the British Isles or a European country.

I think it would be generally admitted that for “Guyanese” children growing up in a different country, cultural issues take on a new dimension. They are fascinated by their parents’ Guyanese practices, speech intonations, food varieties, and so on;  like some and even embrace a few. But their instincts dictate that to really compete in the school system, excel and succeed, then proceed into outstanding careers, they have to cross the culture barrier and truly be American, British, Canadian, or whatever…. For that is where their lives are now rooted. That is where they have to make their mark.

They are not likely to be frequently sending barrels anywhere. Most of the family members whom they knew and were closely associated with in the “homeland” have themselves almost all migrated. Indeed, for the few of the younger generation who might visit their parents’ birthplaces, they are perceived as tourists, and, too often, as targets: hardly anyone knows them; and the few who might notice them may be doing so with a view to criminal action.

In Newton, Massachusetts, deemed by knowledgeable reviewers as one of the best places to live in the United States, I look in awe at the development of my 3 grandsons – all of them American boys. They know which of the family members came from Guyana. They know where to find Guyana on the map. They might also have heard at some time some reference made to Jim Jones and the People’s Temple. Granddad tells them about cricket, but when he is watching a Test match, they are out playing American football. They play the other game as enthusiastically, and play it very well, but to these little Americans in my family that is not football, that is soccer. They love ice-skating, and hockey to snow-boarding. They love the changing seasons, and exult in the snow. They are American. And the more that children like them grow – in the US, in Canada, in England and wherever else in the world Guyanese have re-settled – and the more their children come – so too with the march of time, I believe the Diaspora will diminish.

So we should not bank too heavily on an unending diaspora outreach to the land of our birth. It’s a slow diminution.

====   ENDIT  ====

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  • Serena Hewitt  On October 2, 2014 at 9:25 am

    We have been privileged to witness the crossover from the culture of our own generation to the younger ones. Fortunately, you have been able to keep an interest in things Guyanese in your family. Good for you, Hubert!

  • Albert  On October 2, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Hubert you have spoken for many a Guyanese/West Indian grand parents who have seen their children and grandchildren blossomed in the North American/European part of the world. One thing I would like to mention is remittances and barrels etc to places like Guyana might be a short term blessing but a long term curse. It has helped to create a culture of dependency by a large pool of able body Guyanese. They have stopped working or are not looking for work. When those who generously send to support family at home have move on what would become of those receivers who have not prepare themselves for the end of remittances.

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On October 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    I have observed the same lack of interest in Guyana and Guyanese culture among my own sons and American-born nieces and nephews. As Serena Hewitt notes: “We have been privileged to witness the crossover from the culture of our own generation to the younger ones.”

    However, I don’t share Mr. Williams’ belief that “with the march of time…the Diaspora will diminish.” As long as the outward migration of young Guyanese continues – the population statistics indicate that it does – the Diaspora will live on.

  • compton de castro  On October 2, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Guyana s brain drain will continue until the political class
    and its status quo changes….people are people wherever
    and when they have had enough they will demand that change.
    If it is not forthcoming they have two choices…stay and burn or cut and run…..
    Grass is always greener elsewhere…know which they will
    choose….the young and educated will walk the walk !
    Demographics tells the story.
    Sad but true.!!
    In despair !

  • guyaneseonline  On October 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Comments and replies received on this article and submitted by Hubert Williams:

    The Diaspora is a Diminishing Phenomenon – Reaction

    John Bland – France: Hi Hubert, Always good to hear from you, and I enjoyed your comments on the Guyana diaspora. Of course, in a sense, both you and I are part of a brain drain, in that we have left our native lands, thus depriving those lands of a tiny fraction of their Journalistic Resources. Probably nobody noticed.
    But we are all part of an ever-expanding mobility of populations, which sociologists would trace back to the coming of Railways. After Railways came Bicycles, then the Motorcar, then Airliners. You and I left ‘home’ to find better employment chances – ­ you to Barbados, I to Geneva, and we have stayed put. Mine was a two-year posting to WHO in 1974, and here I am still, with two sons who have also stayed, Alastair at CERN and Andrew with the Swiss airline; only Helen is still in England. Your daughter is splendidly thriving in the U.S. of A.
    But the more recent phenomenon is the disturbing problem of Asylum-seeking. We can’t blame poor Eritreans or war-weary Libyans or Syrians left homeless by shelling from taking desperate measures to reach more stable countries. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, worldwide 51.2 million persons were forcibly displaced as of the end of 2013, mostly remaining within their embattled homelands’ borders or fleeing to neighbouring countries. Perhaps you’ve seen news stories about the impoverished men (and a few women) camped outside Calais, ready to risk their lives by scrambling on to the axles of trucks about to cross the Channel into England. The only people who benefit are the evil human traffickers, to whom these wretched people hand over all their worldly wealth and often their passport, if they have one.
    The UK blames Italy, Spain and France for letting the refugees in and allowing/enabling them to reach Calais, where many think England’s welfare state is an easy touch (which it has been for many years). My sympathies are largely with these wretches. But can the UK allow in unlimited numbers of persons without skills, training, knowledge of English or even the most basic education? In the past, once established here (and I’m thinking mainly of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis), the man whistles for all his numerous family to come and join him and enjoy child benefits, unemployment handouts, ‘social housing’ etc. The result has been the creation of ‘ghettoes’ in Birmingham, Leicester and so forth; I drove through an area of Bradford some years ago where one might have been in Dhaka: market stalls, shops signs in Bengali, cinemas showing only Bengal films, etc. I was not worried ­ but would have been if I owned a fine house nearby!
    I’ve strayed from my brief, which was to appraise your article, and obviously I’m reacting positively to it. A fixture though I am in France-near-the-Swiss-border, I watch UK news closely and, for example, rejoiced that the Scots had the good sense to reject Alex Salmond’s egotistical demand for Independence. And the family over here keep in close contact with relatives and friends in the home country. Our little hamlet of Mourex is 50-50: 50% local farmers and so forth (but whose children went to Swiss schools and sometimes Geneva University) then 50% commuters to CERN and the UN community. Our neighbours include people of Thai, Canadian, Puerto Rican, Dutch, Irish, Finnish, German, Norwegian, Australian and Italian origin. A polyglot bunch and great fun. Of course you have a much greater distance and bigger fares to pay to reach ‘home’ than most of us have!

    Rafiq Khan – Jamaica: Dear Hubert, Great piece! However, you seem to have overlooked one factor: The continuation of the barrel-rolling will depend, not so much on the progeny of present “diasporans”, but on the seamless augmentation of new arrivals to the population of the diaspora, as the young, talented and ambitious back home acquire skills and experience that make them marketable abroad. You think they are staying back and sacrificing for the sake of their homeland? Did we? And so, the exodus of black and brown alike is continuing outward, adding to the present diaspora – building better lives for themselves, gaining in substance. And, like the present community, they too in time will be moved by nostalgia and conscience to stuff their own barrels and and send them back home.
    So, Hubert, I do believe those barrels will continue rolling. There is Hope… Wait a moment: Do I mean Hope – or Despair? Stay well.

    Response: Thanks Much, Rafiq: I had earlier read Desmond’s very informative reaction, which reached me through “Reds” Perreira. Lear Matthews also responded, yesterday, as has a surprising number of other people. What a debate it has excited! …and I had been sitting on that for the longest while, among things written but not distributed. Then yesterday I saw something was being done by Lear about the diaspora and decided to send my text to Cyril Bryan, lest an old piece be upstaged by others…. (I somehow knew it would be controversial)… There’s been a flood of reaction… some, like yours, very helpful in identifying areas of omission and for improvement. Re the barrel… that is the contradiction, for all barrels I’ve sent to Georgetown (and there have been more than to Barbados) were received intact. Regards.

    Dhanpaul Narine – New York: Dear Hubert,Thanks for a thought-provoking piece. There is usually a conflict of values between the seniors and the young in adopted countries.The young of course hear the stories of their parents and their struggles but find it difficult to relate, unless they make visits. I am writing up the profile of a young lady that was born in the US whose parents are from Buxton in Guyana. She heard the stories and went to visit Guyana and returned to the US a changed person. It was like a pilgrimage, a voyage of discovery. This young lady is not the only one.
    In Richmond Hill, in Queens NY, there are over 200,000 Guyanese and the place has been christened ‘Little Guyana.’ Our friend Reds Perreira was guest of Richmond Hill a few years ago and was given the hospitality of the diaspora. The point I am making is that in New York at least the diaspora is alive and well and growing. The young are doing well and Guyana is closer than many think. The impact of the social media and the young has made Guyana more accessible to them. NY to Guyana is just 5 hours away when you can get on a reliable airline!
    I am taking my son Rohan to Guyana next Wed for his first real visit. Rohan is looking at the high rates of suicide in the country for his thesis and he plans to work with the Ministry in Guyana to assist in getting the prevention message out. There are a number of areas in which the young is making their presence felt but I will look at only three: the first is that they proudly call themselves Guyanese and even fly the flag of the country to show it. Richmond Hill High School, one of the biggest in NY even has a Guyanese principal. Secondly, there are hundreds of cricket leagues of the bumper ball variety that involve mainly young people and grounds are packed for these games. There is also hard ball cricket and surprisingly this is played even at the High School level with Caribbean coaches. Finally, there are the reunions in the parks in NY in the summer, and indoors in the winter, and they attract thousands, especially the ones in the summer.
    It seems as if every village in Guyana has a DAY, so we have Wakenaam Day, Leonora Day, Guava Bush Day, Essequibo Day, etc and together with the parades, the peace marches, the hometown town associations, music, and the ‘Guyanese taking over Liberty Avenue’ we have powerful engines that drive the diaspora to greater heights. So I say more power to the diaspora. It will grow and become stronger and eventually catapult one of us into the White House!

    Response – Good Morning, Dhanpaul: You are dreaming, my friend… and as you dream you speak in your sleep. “Catapult one of us into the White House” indeed ! “US” are increasingly becoming non-Guyanese, holding citizenship elsewhere. And I don’t think the US laws permit dual citizenship. Every US president has been a descendant from somewhere else. But he has been a born American. So why not one long descended from Guyanese migrants? But, by jove! he/she will be American to the core. As I have said, the diaspora will be a slowly wilting flower. Memories will increasingly fade with the aged, and the young will courageously confront the challenges and embrace the opportunities in what is in fact their country (the US, Canada, England, Barbados, or wherever) – living their own dreams, not their parents’ dreams. As I have said, the demise of the diaspora is a slow process – generations away, but in time it will be little more than a charitable link. And I pray for the day (though I’ll be long gone) when Guyana rises above its woes, and stands so tall in its wealth and prosperity as not to require the charity of the diaspora or anywhere else. Those who feel strongly about their parents’ homeland can always kick the dust off their American/Canadian/British (or wherever) heels and return “home”. The choice is theirs. It’s very comforting to love ‘home’ and live elsewhere. I know it. Regards.

    P.D. Sharma – Los Angeles: This is P. D. Sharma adding my two cents. Hubert’s point is a bit chilling. Knowing the diaspora will still be here in my lifetime, I did not give the prospect much thought. But some inkling of that eventuality did enter my mind at Last Lap (the Guyana Day feature of Caribana) two years ago. Ninety percent of the people in attendance were old Guyanese people, well past middle age, real old. Some were even in wheelchairs. The younger people (most of Guyanese-parentage and they brought their white Canadian friends) seem to be there more out of curiosity that anything compelling. I overheard an evident old timer lamenting, “Where are the Portuguese?” It was explained to me that that ethnic group used to be very involved and prominent in the early years of Last Lap. But they are now gone, just like the diaspora will, according to Hubert.
    When I came here (Los Angeles) permanently 36 years ago, there used to be a party, real Guyanese party, almost every week. My generation has gotten too old and lacks the energy for that kind of celebration. Besides, our young kids, now fully grown, resented the madness. So, they will not carry it forward. I know that in some Guyanese homes the young Guyanese used to get away and stay out of the house until the backanaal was over. The thing is once you grow to matured adulthood in Guyana, you remain a Guyanese regardless of where in the world you happen to be. Your past is you. Not so with our young children who come here. Once they go through the school system here, especially from the early stages, they are transformed. And that’s a good thing. Their future should be beholden to the present more than the past. Yes, I agree the diaspora will pass. (Footnote: I do not like the notion we will become only a charitable link.)

    Desmond Roberts, USA – I agree with Hubert William’s analysis but disagree with his conclusion. The extant Diaspora links will surely lead to extinction if we continue to organize our Diaspora in the present moribund and anachronistic ways. Dr. Lear Matthews has written a good piece in his book (“English Speaking Caribbean Immigrants, Transnational Identities”, which Lear edited, and in which I contributed a chapter on Guyana) about those who find it difficult to adjust to overseas conditions (See “Migration and Occupational Change”). Many use these organizations as a means of either maintaining or achieving ‘equivalent’ status vis a vis their lives at ‘home’. Many of these groups are designed to be populated perennially by a small directorate which never changes.They are not designed to attract younger people or/as replacement leaders.They invariably use a lot of energy honoring themselves and attending one another’s funerals. The organizations are slowly dying as Hubert points out obliquely.
    Hubert has pointed out the destructively high prices being charged for travel and even accommodation in the Caribbean. I asked a friend just yesterday why Barbados does not devalue its currency to attract more visitors. He said they would prefer to die first. They surely will.
    Hubert is right to point out the universal migration truth that, with each generation, interest in the ‘home country’ becomes less and less . Unless, a larger Diaspora emerges with its own set of enclaves, the dilution will continue apace.
    In my opinion, there are many ways for interested governments with large Diasporal groups (and the groups themselves) to overcome this suicidal rush of lemmings into the sea of irrelevancy. First, there is need for a sound national Diasporal policy which recognizes the usefulness of maintaining mutually advantageous contact with Guyanese and Caribbean nationals in other countries (even other Caribbean countries!). All the political parties in Guyana, which has an alarmingly increasing Diaspora, have paid lip service to the serious involvement of the Diaspora in national politics (the AFC is the strongest advocate). Especially when countries are economically weak or fragile, there is need for clear initiatives to attract funds and skills (Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are good examples) but even the countries that are growing faster still maintain strong ties with their foreign nationals (China – Chinese is not a nationality, it’s a people – and India have active policies).
    Policy must be matched by action at Ground Zero, with embassies and consulates being more nationalistically and Diasporally activist and less politically partisan. Creative outreach is required to promote collaboration and relay sensitive sentiments on both sides of the geographical divide. The aim should not be just to provide passports, support national holidays and celebrations, but to initiate and support inter alia sport, cultural, trade, research, security and investment exchanges. The entire mind set has to change.
    At the group level, programs have to be found to attract and retain new members, especially youths. I am part of an alumnus group trying to do that now. It should be a universal outreach. The research shows that there are diasporal organizations for every aspect of life in the home countries – churches (I even found an altar boys’ association), schools, uniformed, villages, last place of work etc. They operate on little islands of power and hospice. They should try to establish horizontal organizational links for a myriad of beneficial reasons as well as develop relations with similar groups in the Caribbean Diaspora. There are endless possibilities for networking and cultural retention.
    My suggestions and vision are wishful thinking perhaps but Hubert has to be assured that once the ravages of global warming intensify and Caribbean governments continue to mismanage their economies, the flow of migrants will not only continue but significantly increase.
    We have to begin planning for the Diaspora now.

    Response: Dear Desmond: Thanks much for your response. I wrote as a journalist – largely uninvolved, but trying to assess the things I observe. You spoke as an involved intellectual; and there is much in what you have said to which Guyanese in and out of the country need pay heed. I hope that those, to whom we have both referred – all elderly, loving control and intent on perpetuating their exalted status in the various overseas organisations to which we have both pointed – will take heed of your remarks and yield leadership positions to younger people. And what do I think of your view that “the flow of migrants will not only continue but significantly increase”. The diplomatic personnel of the main target countries are being highly selective in the manner of their interviews and the grant of visas. The door of Guyanese migration to the most favoured countries (USA, UK & Canada) is now only slightly ajar in comparison with times past, but careful selectivity is ensuring that an estimated 80-85% of graduates from Guyana’s tertiary level educational institutions get through – all the while these countries are repatriating the illegals, the riff-raff and convicted felons, which help to exacerbate social problems in the receiving country. Best Wishes.

    Lear Matthews, New York: This is my brief response to Hubert Williams’ remarks…. Although Hubert makes some good points, his dismal prognosis for “The Diaspora” is misleading. Diaspora is not a process. It is a fixed phenomenon which describes the dispersion of defined groups of people of similar ethnicity, nationality/background. They tend to thrive for a common identity and often collaborate on causes of interest to themselves – That is unlikely to diminish! Hubert is making a different (but valid) point about the inevitability of third generation assimilation and the diminishing of interest and contact with first generation immigrants’ country of origin and traditional culture. The existences of HTAs is a different issue. In fact, to Hubert’s point, it is true that as time passes, many Guyanese immigrants will have less and less immediate family members left in the home country. There is still a tremendous interest in forming HTAs and involvement in them may be a way of them keeping connected and even preparing for returning to Guyana (which has been increasing) after retirement. Let’s continue the conversation. Regards.

    Yvonne, New York: Hi Hubert: I love your piece and certainly agree with you. It was well written and factual. My family and I left Guyana more than 40 years ago and for the first time, my daughter visited Guyana in July/August along with me and two of her aunts. I was truly surprised when she told me she would come when we were going down. I must say that she had a great time, but I am sure that is her one and ony visit to her land of birth.
    Regarding the diminishing youth from functions, I am always amazed and concerned that more young folks do not attend the annual events that are sponsored by Tutorial High School, my alma mater. My concern is that the office-holders are all elderly and if the young do not attend the meetings/functions, who will run the show when the elders are no longer able to do what they do?
    I have not seen any person that I know other than the folks I visit in Guyana whenever I got there. I might have had my last visit to Guyana now that my sister has passed. I will continue to send barrels to her off-springs, though not as often as I have done in the past. I know they appreciate my stuff because I see evidence whenever I go to Guyana. Hope all is well with you and the family.

  • gigi  On October 2, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Guyana is not alone. People migrate for different reasons. Bill Ong Hing in his book ‘Defining America Through Immigration Policy’ wrote that 66% of all immigrants return to their home country when they retire or grow older. The remaining 34% are made up of those who: deliberately choose not to (like my sister who never wants to return), cannot return for political reasons, cannot afford to return for financial reasons, and those who died at an early age so there is no telling whether they would have returned or not.

    Brits, Americans, Spaniards, Greeks and other Euro-centric communities are leaving their countries in large numbers for some of the very reasons Guyanese have left Guyana – economic depression (unemployment among young college grads are over 50% in some places) and oppressive govt control.

    Humans have always been nomadic even within their own countries. Our globally connected world now makes it easier for us to travel and explore distant places we would have never thought of going. What we are doing is what our ancestors have always done – roam the lands.

    Interesting article
    Why are Americans giving up their citizenship?

    The number of expatriates renouncing their US citizenship surged in the second quarter of 2013, compared with the same period the year before – 1,131 cases to 189 in 2012. It’s still a small proportion of the estimated six million Americans abroad, but it’s a significant rise.

  • compton de castro  On October 2, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Wow …a lot to read but am not convinced that it changes anything….long on info short on ideas/solutions.

    Until its leaders and politicians make that change Guyana stagnates ….brain drain continues. Status quo of its political class.
    Nostalgia the only comfort.
    Was born in Guyana parents and grandparents BG born.
    After military service RAF UK returned to Guyana with young GibraltarIan (British) wife. My four children were born in GT.
    Returned to UK when?my twin sons were two years old.
    My four children grew up and finished their education in UK.
    Now grandchildren born and live in UK.
    For all my defendants UK is home-base….
    They all consider themselves British.
    There is no reason for them to return to Guyana…but
    my two sons and a daughter have visited on holiday.
    Guyana for them is the ‘place of their father and forefathers

    Will they or their children ever return to guyana
    Very unlikely.
    Will I return to Guyana….likely but not GT or permanently.
    Thats life !
    Son and daughter may move to USA.
    Other son Italy …wife daughter Italian.
    Eldest daughter maybe Gibraltar.
    Spend most summers in UK and Spain (andalusia) and winters
    south Guyana Brazil Peru and Venezuela….winter.
    Hope this epitaph explains how dreams can change in time.

    Our dreams can be our destiny.
    Que sera sera

  • compton de castro  On October 2, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    The main reason why some give up American citizenship is its singularity….dual citizeship not possible.

    UK it is possible to be guyanese British Canadian or Australian
    all at same time.
    However in order to obtain my Spanish citizenship after my 10 year residential period I must give up my British nationality.
    Spain like many other European countries do not recognise
    Dual citizenship.

    Spain is also signatory to shengen agreement UK is not !

    My British European passport is most useful to travel on
    as most countries do not require a visa.

    Guess passports ardent but a flag of convenience !

    Que sera sera

  • Clyde Duncan  On October 6, 2014 at 4:49 am

    As I see it, here in British Columbia, Canada, we need to get our act together and come together – for all the reasons cited in the foregoing article. We have a registered society called BCOCCA – British Columbia Organization of Caribbean Cultural Associations.

    BCOCCA [pronounced bu-ko-ka] has monthly meetings and in a small way, have some semblance of a unified Caribbean Community. But, we could do much more if the other organizations would shut-down, or reduce the duplication of efforts.

    In other words, the same aging leaders that were identified in the article by the author are the same ones playing musical chairs up here: Attending monthly meetings of BCOCCA; attending individual organization’s monthly meetings; and if one volunteers for a planning or other committee – that’s another meeting to attend within the month.

    We are getting old and weary, the author observed and I fully agree. I believe we need to overcome our tribal differences and do more with the talent and dedicated spirit of the community up here. Centralize our planning and activities through BCOCCA. Speak with one voice for the Caribbean Community through BCOCCA in British Columbia.

    Within Guyana and the Caribbean, we need to come together under one parliament; with each country designated as a state or province. I believe we could follow the model of the West Indies Cricket Board and establish a West Indies Football Board – I had a strong urge to write West Indies Football Federation – but whatever you choose to call it, we need to get to work with a football team – it is the one way forward. Get excited, together!!

    In 2016, Barbados and Guyana will be celebrating 50-years of independence from UK. In British Columbia the first Governor was Guyana-born; and the first Lieutenant-Governor was Barbados-born – this is the best kept secret in Canada, so one would think we would be excited about getting together to promote this fact about our heritage and contribution to Canada and kick-start the plans, now. Tribal differences …. We want we own!! Such nonsense is slowing us down, then we die!!
    Thank you Hubert Williams for a thought-provoking op-ed.

  • compton de castro  On October 6, 2014 at 6:29 am

    Beg to differ ….wishful thinking !
    Demographics speak a different language.
    Next generation of guyanese will not only
    do exactly what we did , they will become culturally
    part of their new societies.
    Also may add the culture of the guyanese left
    behind will also adopt some of the culture of
    of their ‘alien’ influences..culturally they will
    also change. In as much as it is nice to beat the drums
    of cultural traditions we live in a fast moving changing world.
    Hopefully a more tolerant and peaceful one.
    Que sera sera

  • compton de castro  On October 6, 2014 at 6:38 am

    If right wingers in Canada ‘french and English’ get their way it wont UKPLC ng before Canada becomes another American state.
    Without political unity….Puerto Rico !
    One currency USD….WHY not….largest trading partners.
    Oil and water for investment. Good deal. !
    Take it or leave it ……win win situ for both ex colonies
    of UKPLC …..

    UK can then re-colonise America…ha ha 🙂
    Dream on its free they can come true.

  • walter  On October 6, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Many parents and grandparents after settling abroad,constantly “bad mouthed” Guyana.I am sure this had a lot to do with the younger generation turning their backs on the ole country. Here in Canada I have met many immigrants, coming from real difficult places, starvation,bad government etc. never a bad word, their home country always the very best. I do have one friend left in Guyana, on his annual visits, he would bring me up to date .In his opinion, many younger Guyanese, living abroad, are tentative during their first visit ,but do start to enjoy the good things that one can still find there. These are the ones that tend return with their “foreign” friends, and usually intelligent enough to realise that the problems are fixable. It would take a very long time for all the good that was instilled in us and passed on by us to the younger generation to be washed away so easily.Remember, good country, bad leadership, is changeable.

  • compton de castro  On October 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Hope you are right….who will bell the cat to make that change
    the question…….any of the 65 who enjoy the status quo in
    politricks…change only come with struggle and sacrifice
    are guyanese ready for that.!!
    Only time will tell.
    Que sera sera

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