THE role of the diaspora in the nation’s development cannot be overlooked or underestimated. From their direct recorded input to the gross domestic product, through remittances to the un-recorded sum sent when someone is visiting, barrels, home construction and other services, their presence is felt, though not quite quantifiable.
The presence of this group in our everyday lives is often for the better. In addition to the utilisation of social media, where daily interaction is made with resident Guyanese and keeping abreast with local development, many actually play a role on the ground in providing needed services to the community, and bringing new ones. The advantage this group brings to the nation’s development is that residing in what is considered more developed societies, they retain an abiding interest in ensuring those at home share or benefit from similar experiences. And such desire is a broad spectrum.
For instance, children of Guyana are happily engaged in the inter-disciplinary approach to learning via the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) project. This project, reportedly the brainchild of a United States-based Guyanese family, has the support of First Lady Sandra Granger. Another diasporic group is also engaged in a new approach to learning and proposes to do it one school at a time. The “Blossoms of Guyana” is reportedly utilising unconventional approach (marrying of books and computers) to learning, with the aim of developing our schools and improving the lives of children at orphanages around the country.
The two cases cited are not the full representation of the interest and commitment to the development of Guyana and Guyanese the diaspora has shown. What these and countless others represent is that though physically removed from the country, persons’ hearts have never left. In this regard, there is much to be thankful for. Such input could also signal the importance of establishing a database for those in the diaspora who are so willing to register, allowing for their scope to make known, through structured approaches, the goods and services that can provide country and how through partnership these can be addressed.
The proposed approach is not intended to deprive the diaspora of the evident freedom of interest and allocation of time and resources, but to make full use of the meaningful role they continue to play. This is another form of investing in Guyana outside of the traditional services GO-Invest offers. With a one- stop database/ registry where locals can too make known the unique needs in their communities, and where such is made accessible to the diaspora, in addition to determining what they can do to help, they may be able to tap into their networks to provide other needed services.
The talents, skills, experiences, resources, interests and network of the diaspora are more diverse than obtained in our society, given their spread across the globe, opportunities available, and the connections created overtime. Establishing synergies between the two communities could go a far way in putting Guyana in good stead. And while, truth be told, there is admiration for the other, this is not without some element of peculiarity on the part of both. One such is where it is felt that the diaspora thinks it is all-knowing, always condemnatory, and wanting things done on their terms. For the diaspora, they may view those remaining not aggressive enough in doing what ought to be done and engaging in time-wasting. It is said that the grass always looks different from the other side, but these quirks are mere human frailties and should not hinder what has sustained and united us over the years, which is love for country and wanting the best for ourselves.