One of the constants of West Indian life – from which we were excluded for a while – is to emigrate whenever things got tough at home. Now, whether this was also done by other countries is neither here nor there. We’ve had this “vent” that prevented our frustrations from boiling over into the revolutions that regularly convulse other jurisdictions.
So, over the years, especially since the 60s, a substantial population of our expatriates have accumulated in the old “Mother Country”, England, the US and Canada. They’ve picked up the moniker “Diaspora,” and a “Diaspora Engagement Conference” was just concluded. Your Eyewitness hopes they’ve clarified as to what kind of “diaspora” they’re talking about, since initially there was expansive talk by the expansive VC about launching a “Caribbean Centre”.
This “Diaspora” business, of course, started with the “Jewish Diaspora” which emphasised they were a people that were “dispersed” from a land to which they could always return. The notion led to the formation of Israel, a circumstance that still hasn’t quite settled down more than half a century down the road. Anyhow, back to OUR Diaspora, which your Eyewitness figures is a “Guyanese” Diaspora, since these were the only folks that showed up.
Your Eyewitness hopes that there will be a release stating exactly what was achieved by this “engagement”, apart from the VC having his coronation. There was an investment component; how many investments were locked down?? Your Eyewitness is reminded of several such (expensive) efforts made earlier in each of the three diaspora habitats — England, NY and Toronto — but hasn’t been informed of anyone biting the bait.
The fact of the matter is that those expats who turned up are full of ideas (they’re full of something else, but that is neither here nor there!!) for developing Guyana. But somehow, even though they’ve supposedly made it “big” abroad, none of them has been willing to put their money where their (big) mouths are. After a while, it’s getting increasingly more difficult to take them seriously.
Then there were expectations of UG getting help to move it from what one academic called its “community college” status to becoming a “real” university, whatever that is nowadays. Your Eyewitness notes there were a host of professorial types at the engagement, and would like to know how many of them would be returning to put their shoulders (brains?) to the wheel to move UG forward — without “special conditions”!
Sadly, most of these Diasporans just wanted to show us locals they’ve “made it”. They should ‘fess up that they’ll never return.
…and our oil
One of the bitter truths we Guyanese don’t want to accept is that: while we have a heck of a lot of resources, most recently oil, we need an even greater heck of a lot of capital to develop them — to bring in the funds we need for development. So, for the longest while, we have comforted ourselves with the thought that “we have potential”!! Fat lot of good THAT did us!!
And creamed about being “exploited” when those with capital do come in to make their play. Now, let’s get this straight, shall we? When investors came in to “develop” our bauxite, what exactly did we get? Some jobs for a while, and lots of holes in the ground. Ditto for gold and forestry more recently.
The bottom line, when doing business, has always been “caveat emptor” – buyers beware!!
Meaning that our buyers — our Government — better get some strong negotiators when dealing with sellers.
…for the Police
Our Police and prison Forces’ warts are being exposed, and they are really being embarrassed right now. Maybe they should bring in some “outsiders” to show them how it’s done?