Washington DC: Diaspora hears Govt’s development plans

Washington DC: Diaspora hears Govt’s development plans

By Francis Quamina Farrier

MEMBERS of the Guyanese Diaspora in the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia area of the United States, filled the public area of the Guyana Embassy in Washington, DC, on Friday April 21, 2017.    

Guyana’s Ambassador to the USA and the OAS, Dr Riyad Insanally, took the opportunity to invite the three senior Government operatives, as well as members of the Diaspora, to meet at the embassy, and have what turned out to be a very lively and far-reaching interaction.They were invited to meet and interact with three senior ministers of the Guyana Government. It was coincidental that Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs and fourth Vice-President, Sydney Allicock; Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan; and Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, were all in the U.S. capital, on various government business.

Diaspora at the Guyana Embassy in Washington DC

It was the first time in the history of the embassy that three senior Government ministers were there at the very same time. The gathering included Guyanese who make frequent visits to their homeland, as well as those who have not returned, in some cases, for over two decades.

Many serious issues were raised and discussed by the ministers and those members of the diaspora present.

In his opening remarks, Minister Sydney Allicock spoke of the need for “the branding of Guyana and what we have to offer the rest of the world.”

He also spoke of the on-going need for the protection of the environment in hinterland areas, including water security. Tourism in Region Nine, as well as the enactment of laws for the protection of the Giant Ant Hills in the Rupununi, was also discussed.

Minister Sydney Allicock also spoke of the improvement of infrastructure such as bridges and roads in the Rupununi, as well as the improvement of agriculture.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, apprised the gathering of the foreign currency situation in Guyana at this time, citing the foreigners who come to Guyana and buy up foreign currency. The finance minister also urged the gathering to desist from bad-talking Guyana to non-Guyanese, and gave the example of Jamaicans who never speak ill of their country to non-Jamaicans.

He also urged them to return to Guyana, whether permanently or on occasions, and give of their talents to help in the development of Guyana.

Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson spoke of plans for the construction of the new Demerara Harbour Bridge, which the coalition Government has favoured. The continuing repairs and construction of the country’s infrastructure were also discussed, as well as the way Government intends to use the oil revenue.

The plans for better electricity supply and the extension of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport were also discussed.

From the floor came many questions and comments, including the crime situation and  concerns for the safety of citizens. There was also the issue of those Guyanese who do not readily welcome those from the Diaspora, as well as those from the Diaspora who tend to go to Guyana with a superiority complex. Cosford Roberts told the ministers that his company Organic Development Corporation, is about to be registered in Guyana. There is to be a meeting of the Diaspora in Guyana in July.

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