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GUYANESE are more excited now than ever before about the country’s development, and the diaspora is no exception. Leveraging the technical and financial capacity of the Guyanese diaspora for national development has always been a strategy point for this country, culminating, even now, in the formation of the diaspora engagement unit at the Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Ministry.

President, Dr Irfaan Ali is currently in the United States attending the meeting of world leaders at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Before venturing there, the President engaged members of Guyana’s diaspora in the state of Florida where he encouraged them to return home and lend their skills toward the country’s growth.

This newspaper, in a previous editorial, noted that there is no need to guess what Guyana’s development goals are as the messaging and talking points are consistent in and out of Guyana. There is, as previously noted by this newspaper, an immaculate blending of Guyana’s domestic and foreign policy initiatives, and this is aptly reflected in the consistent messages from His Excellency and his Cabinet of Ministers, which are also connected to policy and intervention measures.

This is also not the first time that the President has called on Guyanese to return home to be part of the rapid growth and development. The uphill battle has also been to use his “One Guyana” initiative to build Guyanese pride home and abroad. “Know that the Guyana we want to build is the Guyana that must reflect the values that define us as a people… When someone says they are Guyanese they must be a symbol of the rule of law. They must be a symbol of democracy. They must be a symbol of ethnic harmony. They must be a symbol of what unity looks like.

“They must be a symbol of tolerance. This is how a Guyanese identity must be defined. We are born in a society that is multi-ethnic, a society that is multi-religious. God has given us this gift so that we can demonstrate to the world how you combine a multi-religious and multi-ethnic country to demonstrate what the true meaning of tolerance and unity is,” President Ali had said during a diaspora engagement in Washington, DC in July.

Guyana experienced the exponential loss of human capital through brain drain in the 1970s and 1980s. Based on successive censuses, there was very little hope that there was a return migration home. Census 2022 will be a window to home our population dynamics have changed, and possibly even whether there has been a return migration to Guyana by diaspora communities from the global north, especially.

Already, there is progressive moves to advance the country’s social services, especially in health and education to bring local standards up to world class quality.

Additionally, more companies in Guyana have secured international certifications demonstrating exceptional standard and quality of product and service. Further, there has been considerable investment in improving citizen security through increased smart city apparatuses, restructuring of the prosecution system to ensure more effective prosecution, and improvement of the fire-fighting capacity of the Guyana Fire Service across the country.

One thing that is increasingly present, albeit not mentioned enough, is the change in our political culture, specifically the way politicking is done. There has been, especially on the part of the President and his government, heavier focus on working across differences, supporting every community regardless of their race, ethnic and political persuasion, and also turning more to the evidence of development and citizen wellbeing as a measuring stick for performance. For any Guyanese in the diaspora contemplating a return home, the choice should be much easier post-2020.

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