Diaspora wants what locals don’t have and don’t get – By Freddie Kissoon

Diaspora wants what locals don’t have and don’t get

A young agronomist invaded a local bank a few weeks ago with his gang to rob it and was killed by security personnel. The details of his life revealed that he was earning G$180,000 monthly (app US $900). When the Council of the University of Guyana terminated my contract in January 2016, I was earning G$182,000 after twenty-six consecutive years with no break.
For the three universities I attended with 26 years of service I earned two thousand dollars more than this young man. I think if he went on to achieve 26 years of service, he certainly would have ended up earning more than G$400,000. Yesu Persaud, a larger than life Guyanese icon, is a living witness.   

The local UN office needed a deputy to its foreign head. Mr. Persaud arranged for me to meet the foreign head, Mr. Juan Larraburre in November 1992. I was interviewed by the gentleman and offered the job.

On reflection I thought my contribution to Guyana’s future was at UG. I informed a much disappointed Yesu Persaud and Juan Larraburre that I would stay at UG. I stayed at UG, ended up earning a G$182,000 for twenty-six years and had my contract abruptly terminated. At the UG-sponsored diaspora forum, one of the speakers publicly stated that more systems and policies need to be in place before the diaspora could return and invest.

Ask my wife; I screamed and she ran upstairs to see what was wrong with me. I was researching my files to find letters and UG Council documents of 2005 to reply to Mr. Ralph Ramkarran. I was ready to type when blackout came, this for the third consecutive day. 0ver the past two months, I heard the following comments from some of the journalists at Kaieteur News, “Freddie, wuh you doing here so early?” This was because I had to rush down in the morning at Kaieteur News to type my columns.

Blackouts at Turkeyen where I live have become more consistent than when the PPP ruled Guyana. Blackouts come daily at Turkeyen and it is tormenting me. I am a daily columnist. I cannot work in such uncivilized conditions. I am in my mid sixties. I fought for my country’s freedom. I need to live peacefully at my age without this torment. Now I hear the folks at the diaspora conference want more to be done in Guyana before they can come back to invest. Can’t someone represent the interests of the locals at that conference?

Can I please have an invitation to address the diaspora conference to describe for them how many of us who are highly educated but we stayed and lived in Guyana under terrible conditions? My landline is 222-1615, 222-1616 and my mobile is 614-5927. My email is fredkissoon@yahoo.com. My address is Lot 47, Area Q, Turkeyen. Please call early so I can have time to research my stuff. I don’t need anything to eat. I will bring my own bottle of water.

I quote from a previous column on my thoughts on this subject of diaspora and us, locals. It is captioned, “Arguments for the employment of local skills,” Saturday, August 27, 2016, “UG has problems sustaining its degree programmes in disciplines like History, English etc. With that reality where are the opportunities for doing a Masters in any programme at UG? Guyanese from low income backgrounds, who hold a first degree from UG, migrate to the US, find employment hard to get, and they pursue higher education.

I know many Guyanese who are doing low level jobs and have Masters. It is easier to get a second degree in finance-related subjects in the US because the university curricula in the US favours business related subjects. If the Government of Guyana is going to emphasize strict qualifications without contexualization, then I reject such a policy. It ignores the context of the Guyanese reality.

I know police officers who retire at age 55 in Guyana and within three years, secured a higher degree in the US. They are going to be more eligible for public sector jobs than their local counterparts who retired at the same age but opportunity for higher qualifications are simply not there. What the Government needs to do is to recognize the context in which our local talent has had to operate since 1980 and arrange scholarship programmes for them after they enter government service.” (end of quote)

So we return to that statement that more needs to be done here to facilitate the diaspora. Really! What about locals? Did I read right? Ministers going to Ireland for medical treatment?

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  • Goordial Hemraj  On 07/28/2017 at 10:40 pm

    Your comment is greatly appreciated!
    Your fellow Guyanese living in the US for the same reason you addressed.

  • Albert  On 07/29/2017 at 12:46 pm

    Things are a bit more complicated than Freddie wrote. Its difficult to organize working arrangements in Guyana for those in say the US with advance degrees and experience. The US is an advanced industrial country: organized, with advance informational technology, major emphasis on research resources etc. It is difficult for people conditioned to such an environment to adapt downwards in an undeveloped country. Not to mention the local living conditions…..health services, crime.
    Someone wrote about a Guyanese who was head of a leading medical institution in the US returning to run the GT hospital. If true, it is a total occupational downsizing. A top level medical institution in the US is an highly complex affair.

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