GUYANA: The Story Within The Story… A looming immigrant crisis?

Kaieteur News – In the next few years, the country will be unrecognizable, especially when it comes to demographics.

The Venezuela crisis has pushed hundreds of thousands of residents of that oil-rich country elsewhere.

We have received, it is estimated, in excess of 50,000 of them here with a community established in Region One.

The figures would not take into account the number of returning Guyanese. Hundreds of them have come back home with hopes of reversing their dire financial situation.       

Many supermarkets now have hired Venezuelans.

The auto repair shop I would visit in Grove, East Bank Demerara, has hired scores of returning Guyanese. Excellent workers, I spoke to one who said he grew up in Venezuela but the hardships forced his Guyanese-born parents back home. They are renting.

He was professional and efficient.

In almost all the Chinese supermarkets in Diamond and Grove, where I live, there is growing evidence of the employment of foreign nationals.

In fact, the presence of the Venezuelans has fuelled a demand for apartments.

Of course, the Venezuelan and Brazilian women are highly favoured as workers in the bars.

It is no surprise therefore that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the bars, especially on the East Bank of Demerara, remain filled.

Recently, during a call-in programme on Kaieteur Radio, hosted by yours truly, I learnt that a number of security companies are hiring Haitians.

In the hinterland regions, despite the border shutdown, it is reported that thousands of Brazilians have fled hardships in their country to the gold mining areas.

Guyana has to be real worried. At the time of writing on Friday, our death toll was 111 with over 3,600 cases confirmed.

There is no abatement in the rise of cases.

The US continue to lead the number of cases with over eight million persons infected since earlier this year and over 218,000 dead.

India has overtaken Brazil to record over 7.3M cases and 112,000 deaths. That country is surging.

Brazil follows suit with 5.1M cases and 152,000 deaths.

The above would drive home the harsh reality of how vulnerable Guyana is because of our open borders.

It appears that the Government is very much aware of the challenges.

In fact, this past week, President Irfaan Ali reportedly announced that a special committee is being established to handle the Guyanese remigrants from Venezuela.

It is timely. Many Guyanese are finding it hard to reintegrate.

“I am going to set up a special committee to be led by the Minister of Housing and the Minister of Local Government to see how we can bring the services to help you,” President Ali is reported as saying during an outreach to Essequibo.
It is clear that migration and oil and gas will play a major role in painting our outlook.

The demographics will change as eventually we will have to issue ID cards.

The addition of 50,000 persons to the country will always be placing an extra burden on the health care bill.

Oil and gas have brought challenges.

We will all recall how more than a decade ago, it was unthinkable that people were coming here as migrants in a big way.
Today, we can no longer boast the same.

Most modern countries have systems in place. There is an application process. There are fees for work permits.
It is a money making arrangement.

Notaries or Justices of Peace make quite a bit from processing and stamping documents.
There has to be a police clearance.

No country worth its salt can accept persons whom we have no idea about.

The Venezuela crisis has created headaches for Trinidad and Tobago.

The Twin-Island Republic is facing a growing problem from gangs which include Venezuelans.

We have hundreds of squatters who fall below the radar along the East Bank of Demerara from Grove to Herstelling.

There are hundreds of shacks erected with deep worry over health risks.

We have long talked about six races.

The schools will have to revisit this myth.

Suddenly, the situation has changed.

We will have to seriously look at the situation and look to overseas organizations with experience to advise us how to deal with the situation.

Not addressing it early is not an option.
We have to constantly review the changes and see how best Guyana can control while at the same time fulfil its international mandate of extending humanitarian gestures, including the acceptance of migrants.

It is a surreal situation.

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  • kamtanblog  On 10/19/2020 at 3:36 am

    Tip of ice burg !
    Guyana is being colonised all over again.
    This time not French Dutch or British.
    But by BRICS (Brazil Russia India China SAfrica)
    trading block. Economic colonisation !
    The time scale is not “decades” more like
    “yesterday”….yep Guyana’s demographics
    is witnessing a tsunami !

    Hope all is well that ends well for minorities


    Kamtan uk-ex-EU

  • Dennis Albert  On 10/19/2020 at 5:14 am

    This is the thing with PPP mouthpieces: If they’re gonna insinuate that Venezuelans, Haitians and Brazilians are spreading COVID, then why are Guyanese living like Mumbai and Delhi slum dwellers pack like sardine in basement apartment in NYC or Toronto?

  • collectingsunenergy  On 10/19/2020 at 7:51 am

    Gildharie’s article has a telling line about the dangers of accepting immigrants without knowing who they are: “No country worth its salt can accept persons whom we have no idea about.”
    But that is exactly what happened in Trinidad and Tobago as then Chief Minister Dr Eric Williams of the ruling PNM prepared to rig the 1961 general election. After the 1958 federal election defeat and the 1959 local government defeat at the hands of the Indian dominated DLP, Williams was worried about being thrown out of power by the surging Indian party.
    His solution was to bring in crooked voting machines and offset the large Indian vote by packing the voting list with illegal African immigrants from Grenada and other small West Indian islands.
    The idiot simply opened up the gates and quietly invited the blacks to come to Trinidad unmolested by immigration authorities or police, whereupon his crooked Elections and Boundaries gave them voting cards and Trinidad ID cards. It didn’t matter if they had any educational or work qualifications to come to Trinidad. Once they were African and prepared to vote PNM Williams let them in. Hundreds of thousands of them by my count, flooded the land and stayed.
    And they did the job of securing a win for the PNM in the 1961 general election. Williams romped to a majority triumph and trampled over the Indians to put himself in place for a further 25 years in power.
    But the price was high. To put it bluntly, those unregulated immigrants ruined Trinidad and Tobago for all time. No country in the world would have accepted such a large number of junk immigrants, the rabble and the scrabble of the West Indies, people with no discernable skills for nation building. Anybody who could walk and make an X on a ballot paper scrambled into the mecca of oil rich Trinidad where they would get residence, government housing, good government jobs and the good life forever. All the idlers and petty criminals and school dropouts and illiterates and no hopers from Grenada and other islands ran in glee to Trinidad and stayed there.
    In the years to come they would prove an immense burden to Trinidad and Tobago, demanding and getting an enormous share of government revenue without contributing much in return except their votes in the elections. Many turned to crime. preying on the Indian enemies of the PNM. Some put up horrible no go shanty town settlements, or squatted on the hills burning the vegetation and causing major floods on the plains below. Children and grandchildren, now citizens of Trinidad who cannot be deported, continue in the same vein. It’s all they know. The children are not doing well in school, their elders demand pay but decline to do productive work. In short, they are a collective burden on the rest of Trinidad and Tobago forever.
    Yes, those voting children of Dr Eric Williams have damaged the country of my birth beyond repair. All that is left for some of us who long for the good life is to migrate ourselves away from them and the other PNMites who brought them in. But we know one thing- places like Canada where I now live will never let in hordes of immigrants whom we know nothing about.

    Ram Jagessar

    • Curtis  On 10/19/2020 at 9:29 am

      Are you kidding? Canada let in thousands of refugees from several countries without having a clue about these people. Some came from countries where terrorism is rampant, As soon as these folks landed they were given free health care, child benefits and welfare payments and let me tell you, many of them will not contribute their fair share back but continue to find ways to get free money at the taxpayers expense. Welcome to Canada, bring us your downtrodden , your weary and your schisters!!!!

      • Dennis Albert  On 10/19/2020 at 12:35 pm

        Guyanese-Americans tell me that the Canada Border Agency is more strict than the American border patrol. What should be a problem is that Canada allows millions of wealthy immigrants from India and China to buy real estate with laundered money in Toronto. Then those same Patels and Chinese criminals hire their people to work below minimum wage.

      • kamtanblog  On 10/19/2020 at 1:01 pm

        Canada was inhabited by Inuits (eskimos)
        and polar bears until the “foreigners” (conquistadors” moved in….
        Would suggest you google demographics
        of Canada in search for where it is today.

        Population Canada 28-32m in such a massive
        area would imagine that’s it’s population will
        expand more from outside than within.
        In decades to come it can even double !

        We can but speculate !

      • kamtanblog  On 10/19/2020 at 1:08 pm

        By 2021 Canada’s population will reach 39m
        Most increase “outwardly” not from within.


    • Dennis Albert  On 10/19/2020 at 12:33 pm

      Google: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Dhakka and Dalit, and go back there you anti-Black racist.

  • detow  On 10/19/2020 at 3:56 pm

    Ram Jagessar you, like most Indians, obviously have a significant race hatred against blacks; what’s new. It would have been nice if you came here looking forward rather than backwards. If you want to solve Trinidad and Tobago’s problems feel free to leave Canada.

    Curtis and Denis Albert you are obviously operation on the “Hear Say” scale and are totally out of tune with Canadian reality. Our present government is working assiduously to ensure that loopholes of the past are plugged and, to a large extent prevent American influence from permeate the land.

    Kamtan, what can I say, we need more people like you to educate us of the history of Canada, its original inhabitants and the fact that foreigners populated the country after kicking the shit out of the natives. We are really hoping to invite many other ‘foreigners’ to come and help us update our registry of YOUNG people able to contribute to our financial coffers since we are mostly of retirement age.

    • Curtis  On 10/20/2020 at 8:32 am

      Definitely not operating on “Hear Say” and very much in touch with Canadian reality. Hate to disappoint you.

  • Jo  On 10/19/2020 at 4:10 pm

    To Curtis: What nonsense about Canada’s refugee system. There are Canadian staff on the ground in many countries and at the borders to check the viability of refugees. It’s definitely not a free for all. Moreover, Canada has an eye and always has for its occupational requirements. Of course, there are poor refugees from Haiti and other places crossing over from the US, who are let in on humanitarian grounds.But they are subject, one and all to due process. Many Canadians support their entry as long as they go through the proper procedures required. Of course, there will be others who won’t welcome them. That’s life in a free society. It was the Conservatives under Harper who got thrown out of office because of their racist dog whistles.But the country has been built up by many refugees over decades from earlier times. The people at the bottom of that pool are eager to work and support their families. They are the ones living in the poorer areas who have to go to work whatever the circumstances. You don’t hear them complain. You’d be hard-pressed to find refugees being a major problem in Toronto compared to the number of Canadian born people on the streets. The refugees want to work since they have families to care for. And by the way, how many terrorist incidents are you aware of here as compared to Europe? Stop writing such prejudiced garbage.

    • Curtis  On 10/20/2020 at 8:44 am

      Wind your neck in JO ON. How many background checks were done on thousands of refugees that have come into Canada? It’s a totally different process as opposed to dealing with immigrants who apply for residency in the country. I was not referring to persons who come to Canada by way of the U.S./Canada border but those who come via air travel from countries where people are granted refugee status. It’s impossible to do background checks on those people.

    • Curtis  On 10/20/2020 at 1:07 pm

      You should try talking to Canadians who are on the ground like you say and they will tell you a different story. That bunch that came in from Syria a couple years ago….definitely not, and it was of concern to Canadians. So many refugees are not in the system in their countries so how can Canadians on the ground do background checks?

      • Dennis Albert  On 10/21/2020 at 8:10 pm

        Be careful what you post if you live in Canada or GB. If one criticises refugees and overpopulation by mass immigration, the Toronto Police Service, Scotland Yard and the M15 knock on your door and threaten to murder you if you don’t comply with their demands of censorship.

        Guyana is a freer country. I’m posting a disparaging remark about Jagdeo, and I’m still alive.

      • Dennis Albert  On 10/22/2020 at 9:03 am

        Justin Trudeau at a Gay Pride with a gay Syrian man who short like primary school boy? Gay men were molested by pedophile?

        Canada Sodom & Gomorrah or what?

  • Jo  On 10/19/2020 at 4:17 pm

    To Dennis Albert: Yes, our housing market is awash with foreign investment and the money laundering is a fact in British Columbia. Bear in mind, the government wants the money else they’d do something about it. None of this could happen without a government’s approval. It wants the tax money from the developers and those selling and buying housing for investment purposes. Canada is lax with regard to the wealthy and their presence in the economy caused by the Govt’s own willingness not to crack down on the international flow of money from other countries. It’s called capitalism…heard about it? It trumps everything.

    • Dennis Albert  On 10/20/2020 at 6:53 am

      Laundering $= a crime, and why should the public allow money launderers to park their ill-gotten gains to make the government richer? Is this what Canada is for? I’ve heard that the government of Canada is corrupt and the Prime Minister tried to obstruct an investigation into a national scandal of bribery and abuse of process.

  • Jo  On 10/19/2020 at 4:28 pm

    I do think that public comments like “cabal” in reference to David Frum’s article and the word “shisters” (spelling?) should be unwelcome in this forum for our opinions. They are recognized as anti-Semitic. There should be no place for such outward racist commentary. We are all in our skins, a problem for somebody or other. It’s the last thing Guyanese should be showcasing to the world. We are entitled to our prejudices but they are “our prejudices”. Racist language and behaviour in a public forum doesn’t lend credence to the remarks, rather the opposite.

  • Curtis  On 10/20/2020 at 8:50 am

    That’s the problem in the world today. Everything has to be politically correct where people are either afraid to or not allowed to voice their opinions. One word out of turn is labelled racist or anti-semitic. But you know what, it is what it is and no amount of sugar coating the actions of some will change what they are. So you can continue with your political correctness and I will call a spade a spade.

  • wally n  On 10/20/2020 at 2:14 pm

    CANADA is completely shot. Who in their right mind, makes a somalian Minister of Immigration. There is probably a million unregistered refugees in the country, mostly in the big cities, also millions of dollars owed to hotel chains, presently filled, why, because they are a solid voting block.
    The “destruction” of Alberta, strangling of oil production is nothing but a subtle plot to fill it with syrians, already has great infrastructure, housing and oil jobs.
    The backroom planning of Globalist in any country, will destroy natural expansion, and growth, even in small countries like Guyana.
    People should pay more attention, goes on in the middle of the night, and is irreversible

    • Dennis Albert  On 10/20/2020 at 5:07 pm

      Syrians produce oil?
      How did you immigrate to America or Canada btw?
      It seems that the anti-immigrant rhetoric focuses on anti-Black dog whistles.
      What about Mr. Singh using organ harvesting monies from India to buy mansions in Toronto or Vancouver?

  • Jo  On 10/20/2020 at 4:09 pm

    Curtis: You can be as rude as you wish to be. The Syrians who were selected to receive refugee status for entry to Canada were checked in Syria. A lot of them were middle class with relatives and friends here. They were spread across Canada. Quite a few set up small businesses and were immediately hard at work. Many of course had to learn English. And exactly which Syrian has gone and committed mayhem as has happened in France? Heard of any terrorism from Syrian refugees? Please tell me. Would be glad to be informed. And from the writings of Wally, what’s your grievance against Syrians? Have they robbed you at gun point? Sounds as though your dreams are nightmares “in the middle of the night”. Sleep tight. Let us know when the Syrian came for you. I guess this comments site is from those suffering from QUAnon fever. Best to sweat it out at the gym. And for those who can’t be bothered to cast their position with due respect..well that’s your problem. Don’t complain when you’re abused by someone loving the free speech of racist abuse. Lastly, you heard the Government of Canada is corrupt. The issue you were referring to had more to it than meets the eye. The Press and the Opposition need to stimulate readership. These accusations are thrown out there as part of their job when they’ve got little else to “oppose” the Govt. about. And none of their own governments ever had spotless reputations. And yes, Dennis Albert..I never suggested that I approve of money laundering. I already outlined my points on the matter with regard to the system. And by the way…London, England is also afloat on the cash parked there by money launderers.
    So guys…have fun. Will rest my case. Not interested in wild abuse.

    • Dennis Albert  On 10/20/2020 at 5:05 pm

      Lilian Chaterjee is part of the Trudeau government who penned for sanctions against Venezuela, and also played a huge role in demonising Granger and Harmon.
      Guess what though President Justin Trudeau enriched his family with a conflict of interest scandals at a charity, and several of his ministers were accused of covering up bribery and corruption at SNC Lavalin a foreign company in Libya.

  • Jo  On 10/21/2020 at 3:29 pm

    You’re joking. JT enriched his family with a charity? They had money long before the WE charity brothers were out of short pants. Yes fees and travel expenses were different than for all the other big wigs like Harper who now reward themselves as consultants to the well-heeled. The Charity had a great reputation for the work it did engaging young Canadians. Trouble is it’s easy to resent people who are in the upper echelon of society. The opposition is at pains to create this resentment while happy to pocket similar perks for themselves. Re SNC Lavalin there was a perfectly well developed strategy to have a settlement that was court administered and involved heavy fines that would have benefited the public purse. It’s been done in England and the US. The Minister JWR sat in parliament when the legislation was passed to allow for Deferred Prosecution Agreement and knew full well that SNC was the purpose. The Company did engage in egregious conduct all under the Harper Govt. without a peep from Harper. Ever hear of the Conservatives going after the Canadian mining companies and their treatment of Indigenous People and their land in South America?They all turned a blind eye to it. SNC had already gotten rid of the managers who perpetrated the scandal, had instituted better systems for overseas operations. Moreover the Company is the largest Canadian company engaged in international engineering contracts and employs thousands across Canada. What Trudeau was trying to avoid was the employment fall out for thousands of workers across Canada and the loss of contracts overseas to rival non-Canadian corporations. There would have been harm to the innocent. Quebec would have been impacted. As it turned out, the company though brought to trial in Quebec, ended up paying the same damn settlement fines as would have happened under the DPA. A lot of wasted time and energy over issues years old of overseas corporate behaviour engaged in by many. Besides Ghadafi is long dead. So the opposition and the papers had a field day. Guess what? Trudeau still got back into power. JWR the Minister will never regain her status again in the Liberal Party. She’s now a nonentity. She herself should have recused herself from voting for the legislation in the first place or not accept that she wore two as a Minister subservient to the PM and one as a judicial officer. She didn’t. She betrayed everyone. So corruption is worldwide, and very much so in Guyana. Companies can only get away with this behaviour when countries endorse the corruption..with the right oversight and legal agreements. So we’ll watch and see what happens in the Oil industry in Guyana. The US has tons of corrupt legislators who are all financed by corporations to pass laws that enrich their owners even if at the expense of the environment and people’s health. Think the opioid crisis is a hiccup? No, many have turned a blind eye to corporate malfeasance. The culprits seldom end up in jail.

    • Dennis Albert  On 10/21/2020 at 7:52 pm

      Why would one forgive Justin Trudeau and the SNC Lavalin company because they hire thousands of Canadians? If they break the law, they break the law. Lilian Chaterjee wanted democracy here in Guyana, and that caused Granger to be evicted from Presidency.

  • Jo  On 10/21/2020 at 3:33 pm

    Correction: “when countries endorse the corruption. Countries can avoid this with the right oversigHt and legal agreements.

  • Dennis Albert  On 10/21/2020 at 7:55 pm

    You’re talking as if corruption is a spelling mistake. Justin Trudeau, Bill Morneau and those involved in the Panama Papers/SNC scandals are corrupt.

    They should be held accountable, just like how the police in Toronto and Ontario use the law to harass Black Jamaicans, Trinis, Guyanese and Caribbean nationals for petty crimes like jaywalking.

    Canada should not forgive corruption because someone is a politician. Lilian Chaterjee wanted democracy and the rule of law for Guyanese, yet Black people and Amerindians in Canada are treated like garbage.

    Do you know what makes Guyana more freer than Canada or the UK? We as Guyanese do not use “criminal libel” laws to jail dissidents.

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