Come back home – Govt. Ministers urge diaspora in Canada

Come back home – Govt. Ministers urge diaspora in Canada

AUGUST 9, 2015 | BY |
    Pic filed as Canada celebrations2 A section of the participants during the business session at the Crown Plaza in Toronto   Pic filed as Canada celebrations1 The mammoth crowd listening to Minister Harmon in Canada.

“Last Lap Lime” 2015 – Toronto Canada

Minister of State Joseph Harmon and Tourism Minister Cathy Hughes, recently led a small delegation to Canada, in order to update Guyanese in the diaspora of the plans and objectives of the new administration.

The delegation which also included a tourism official and representatives from the 50thIndependence Anniversary Commission, “received loud praises for their decision to visit Canada during “Last Lap Lime”, an event in Toronto Canada” which attracts the largest number of Guyanese. 

A Government release on the visit yesterday said that the delegation visited Toronto to engage the diaspora at the 20th anniversary of the annual event which is put on by several alumni associations linked to schools in Guyana.

Prior to their attendance at the event which attracted some 3,000 plus patrons, the Ministers hosted a meeting with business persons at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Toronto.

The meeting focused on the business community’s interest in the new Government’s approach to stem various issues which were of concern to them with regard to investing in Guyana. Minister Hughes outlined the steps that are currently being taken in the Tourism sector, as well as the Government’s commitment to reducing crime, an issue which the attendees expressed grave concern over. She outlined the administration’s confidence in its Minister of Public Security and emphasized to the group that every effort was being made to curb the current crime situation in Guyana.

Minister Harmon, for his part, welcomed the fact that the attendees took time out on a Sunday to engage with him and his colleagues in matters of interest to them.

He outlined the Government’s focus on creating a level playing field for all prospective and current investors, and extended an invitation for the interested parties to visit Guyana and meet with the appropriate authorities within the specific areas of their interest.

Minister Harmon further stated that the Government, even though it is only a few months old, was already putting systems in place to ensure transparency and accountability in every sector. The Minister emphasized the fact that while the Opposition may be uttering instances of victimization and character assassination of former Government officials and operatives, there is clear evidence of mismanagement and abuse of the treasury by a number of former officials.

In further responding to the question of witch hunting, Harmon assured those concerned that the Government was not out to put anyone in any particular embarrassing situation. He, however, stressed that once the State Assets Recovery Unit found that there was abuse in the disbursement of public equipment and assets, the perpetrators will be challenged and if found guilty, will face the full brunt of the law.

At the “Last Lap Lime”, the team also managed to set up an information booth displaying banners, flyers, brochures and other tourism and investment information.

Minister Hughes, who was assisted by Senior Tourism Development Officer, Sanchia Persaud, manned the booth along with Guyana’s Honorary Consul in Toronto, Sattie Sawh.

Meanwhile, both Ministers took the opportunity to address the large Guyanese audience about their various concerns and the opportunities which now exist.
Minister Hughes first thanked the diaspora for their support in working to bring change in Governance, as well as their contributions in whichever shape or form that helped to create that change. She urged the thousands present to remember they are still welcome to Guyana despite their reluctance in the past because of some significant or minor experience. She urged those present to remember that Guyana is their homeland and highlighted Government’s commitment to reducing the red-tapes people faced when trying to do business in Guyana in the past.

Hughes invited them to come home and experience a new shift in Guyana’s hospitality with the establishment of the many resorts and visitor attractions which are available nationwide. She also praised the carriers serving Guyana currently, and singled out Fly Jamaica, which apart from providing air services, was putting systems in place to establish reduced fares and additional opportunities for Guyanese to experience both Jamaica and Guyana in a two-hop vacation package.

Minister Harmon praised the Guyanese-Canadians for their continuous support of the Government’s programmes and objectives, and their willingness to embrace the changes now taking place. He noted that while rubbing shoulders with the wide cross section of the Diaspora, he continuously felt the warmth and admiration Guyanese still hold for their country. He thanked the promoters of the event for inviting the delegation, and urged them to continue the good work of keeping Guyanese in the social loop even though the event is a once yearly activity.

The Minister was also loud in praise for the many persons who expressed interest in returning home, and assured them that his Government was waiting with open arms to welcome them. While responding to shouts from the audience about the sloth in Government not bringing persons who misused public trust and confidence to quick justice, the Minister appealed to the audience to have patience as investigations and audits were underway, and very careful assessments were to be done to ensure compliance to the objectives of the process.

The audience was also appraised on the expectations and programmes planned for the 50thAnniversary of Guyana’s Independence by Commission member Bobby Vieira.

Also forming part of the delegation were Col Larry London (Ret/d) and Political Affairs Head in the Ministry of the Presidency, Fredrick McWilfred. The group returned to Guyana on Tuesday last.

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  • Restorer  On 08/09/2015 at 7:05 pm

    Congratulations to the delegation. As we approach the 50th anniversary, we must do so with an all-inclusive , all embracing national vision. We need to begin a national conversation now on “Guyanese identity” and “National Vision” It is time. The conversation must take place at all levels and involve all, but must be brought to the fore in the mass media by community leaders in a concerted effort to have an atmosphere of mutual respect.

  • Desiree Brathwaite Edwards  On 08/09/2015 at 9:19 pm

    There seems to be an increase in shooting deaths in Guyana every day.It’s very scary to read about people being followed from the airport,beaten and killed.Where are the guns coming from.They are certainly not made in Guyana.This is a serious issue and needs to be addressed.

  • kiskadee70  On 08/09/2015 at 9:51 pm

    Nicely put. Witch hunting?????? Corrupt politicians stealing public funds should be rooted out at all cost and when found guilty, hanged in public for all to see. Criminals ???????? same treatment. The death penalty must remain on our law books for as long as it takes to clean up the human garbage in our country. O Beautiful Guyana ! how I long to embrace you and get absorbed in your beauty again!

  • Helen  On 08/09/2015 at 10:42 pm

    Guyana has still a ways to go before any from the diaspora think of spending their winter months there. However, I wish my country all the very best in its new found lease in life. May she continue to grow and prosper.

  • Leslie Chin  On 08/10/2015 at 10:36 am

    The story of Jonestown suggests a solution for Guyana i.e. massive immigration from the world’s trouble spots. The refugees trying to go to Europe from Africa should be invited to come to Guyana. Guyana is well placed to receive multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-cultural immigrants. This is our composition. It works well in Toronto which is probably the most multicultural city in the world.

    Immigration to Guyana has been negligible after the first waves of immigrants; people have been leaving Guyana in droves since independence. It has been reported that Guyana was offered as a homeland for the Jews after WW2 but they chose to go to Palestine instead to found the State of Israel. Immigrants from the Middle East, Asia, India, China, Africa, Europe and the Americas would build the country and should be encouraged. The new immigrants can be put to work to build a new capital city on high ground in the interior to counter floods on the coast and fight Venezuela’s claim to Guyanese territory. Is the Jonestown site still available?

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
    Inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty, New York City.

  • Norman Tewarie  On 08/10/2015 at 11:45 am


    Give me my people’s company, and I am most happy. Give me my country’s spirit, give me my people’s outlook and I am boss in anything I choose – fixing, reaching for, or solving anything that is often a headache for others, is often a breeze for us. I can’t imagine where we would be in the world if indeed we came from a well-run country. Viva Guyana!

    I am Guyanese by birth
    And I’m very proud of it
    For its tropical worth
    Its loving country spirit

    Our people’s company
    And patriotic outlook
    Makes me darn happy
    When others forsook

    Us a humble people with great pride
    I feel I can do anything
    Like I’m on a top super coaster ride
    In all efforts reaching

    For the stars with my basics
    Getting pleasure solving problems
    Avoiding all the licks
    Like porknockers looking for gems

    Cause to me it’s like a breeze
    As others abroad struggle and fret
    All because I’m a Guyanese
    I’m always jolly never get angry yet

    Coming from a well-run country
    With its untouched Eco-climate
    Now we moving we are free
    Moving away from racial hate

    We’re a warm hospitable people
    With an enviable education system
    Anywhere we show we are able
    Yes Guyana my warm no-snow gem

    A super bird’s watcher’s paradise
    For hobbyists far and wide
    They come to see our rare bird flies
    And satisfy their curious ride

    And when I die abroad or here
    I’m telling them “Let me stay yah”
    To my loved ones let them share
    And bury my shell also in Guyana

  • albert  On 08/10/2015 at 11:50 am

    Guyana needs a variety of people with the right training and experience but from the conversation with some Guyanese it seem many are scared about Guyana. A lot more work need to be done with the crime situation. Jagdeo has done considerable damage to Guyana’s reputation… would take some time and effort to restore the country’s image, if possible.

  • Leslie Chin  On 08/10/2015 at 7:13 pm

    I doubt that many emigres will want to return to Guyana, However some may be willing to contribute their expertise and experience on a voluntary basis but the Guyana government has not shown any interest in the past. The Presidential Ministry should open liaison offices in the US, UK, Canada and elsewhere where there are expatriates. N.B. it is predominately the educated class that have emigrated. Most of them have now retired so this is a good window of opportunity to tap into this resource. .

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