In reference to the statement: “Guyana’s economy has enough jobs for everyone… anyone right now who don’t want a job is lazy.”- President Ali (Sunday Times, 8th January, 2023: page 3). I completely concur with President Ali’s statement for a long time now, although we may not have full employment of all citizens. Here in Guyana, we have a situation of underemployment concomitant of persons being employed at jobs to which their qualifications are not suited to. But jobs are available until the right jobs turn up.
All sectors have jobs: the Private Sector, the Agriculture Sector, the Mining Sector, Cane Harvesting (the sugar industry), Education Sector, Energy Sector etc.-jobs are bountiful- especially now with Guyana emerging as an Oil and Gas powerhouse.
Former President Dr. Bharatt Jagdeo once stated that you needed an additional half a million people to satisfy all the jobs that are available in the different sectors of Guyana. If we are not very prepared with a very good migrant employment system, imagine what will become of us Guyanese when this influx of migrants arrived at our shores -we as a people will surely disappear.
In Canada, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago; you have to wait often for a long time for the right job to start off with. Guyana is a repertoire for the skilled and unskilled labour force. Guyanese on the other hand when they migrate to other countries have to work at low low-payings such as cleaners, bartenders, hospital porters, cooks etc. until the right job comes along. In Countries like Malaysia, and Singapore; skilled and unskilled labour forces have to be imported from places such as Ghana, Zimbabwe, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Philippines, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and some Caribbean Territories.
The Philippines is very important and special in that it provides skilled and unskilled persons for the labour force for of the countries above. In the Philippines, there are special Trade Schools, etc. that train persons to be labourers for the countries above. Security persons to be employed in the Security Services Sector are trained to be honest, decent, kind, efficient etc. It is often the case that the countries where these immigrants come to work, stay as workers but cannot become citizens. Under no circumstances are they allowed to be owners of businesses. The Government of Guyana likewise should take an example of this employment strategy but create areas where employers would construct residence blocks specifically for the migrant workers because housing issues in Guyana are complex problems.
My advice to President Dr. Ali and the committee he is creating for the new Employment Strategy is that he should pattern his Imported Employment Program after the country of Dubai/ United Arab Emirates which has a very excellent and extensive migrant employment system along with a world-class economic system. When I was in Dubai, I was advised by a foreign long-haul driver of a luxury vehicle that if they do not work through a citizen of Dubai who owns commercial businesses in Dubai the penalty is 10 years imprisonment.
I am willing to offer my services to sit on any committee that is set up to structure or restructure such migrant laws and processes.
My commendations to His Excellency President Dr. Irfaan Ali for the work done so far in the creation of job opportunities for all Guyanese. Much more remains to be done, of course. In addition, for being “Straight up” for saying that “there is no unemployment issue in Guyana because there is enough capacity in the system to take off anybody who wants a job. And wanting a job is different from having a job you think you don’t want” (Sunday Times, 8th January, 2023: page 3).
Let this employment strategy be an example to Mr. Glenn Lall aka “Mango Man,” who proposed his strategy for Guyanese “to be given one million dollars per person per month.” Even if it is fifty thousand dollars many people will prefer to stay at home instead of going to work. The President of a country cannot overnight turn “Father Christmas.”
Haji Dr Roshan Khan