Don’t just send money home, come back and invest – Foreign Minister tells Guyanese in Canada
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, has said that Guyana’s link with Guyanese who have moved overseas should not just be about money transfer but that the time has come for them to invest back home and to even move back here.
Minister Todd was at the time addressing an awards ceremony and cultural programme put on by the Honorary Consul in Toronto, Canada on Sunday night.
“For too long there has been a disproportionate focus on the transfer of remittances as the pinnacle of Diaspora relations.
“While it is true that remittances from migrants to their families has contributed greatly to the economies of developing countries, I believe that it is now opportune that we prioritise investment by the Diaspora as a key element to our Government’s plan for long-term economic development,” Todd stated.
He said the new PPP government is committed to strengthening the relationship with Guyanese living abroad to assist interested investors in developing and implementing their business ideas at home.
“We will ensure that efforts are made to address the hurdles to doing business in Guyana and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will work closely with our partners like Guyana Office for Investment to ensure that this goal of attracting sustained Diaspora investment is accomplished,” he stated.
Another key aspect to the Ministry’s engagement with the Diaspora, Todd said, is re-migration.
He said the Diaspora is a community rich with skills and knowledge across a wide range of sectors.
“As is clearly outlined in Manifesto of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, the Government of Guyana in pursuit of encouraging skilled Guyanese to return home, will reverse any adverse changes to the re-migrant scheme and will implement policies to facilitate the return of Guyanese in a manner that is simple and mutually beneficial to the Diaspora and the people of Guyana,” Minister Todd stated.
He stressed that the Government sees a role for Diaspora investment not only in the new oil and gas sector, but also in the traditional sectors of the Guyanese economy -those sectors that have always been the pillars of our economic activity and national development.
“As the Guyanese economy expands, as is predicted, there will emerge more and more opportunities for sustained investments and expertise in the areas of Education and Health.
“In this regard, the Diaspora can provide a pool from which Guyana can harness talent for development,” Minister Todd stated.
He said it is for this reason that the Government believes that the conversation with the Diaspora must not only be construed as being necessary, but also must be frequent and meaningful.