Overseas Guyanese willing to help can register with their High Commissions and Embassies
Stabroek News
December 1, 2001

Dear Editor,

It was with great interest that I read your editorial of November 29, in which you commended the Region 4 Co-ordinating Committee on the Reduction of Poverty for proposing that the government should compile a global register of skilled Guyanese, and undertake a national human resources survey.

I fully support these proposals. Indeed, the authors of the National Development Strategy (NDS) had come to the conclusion that the major obstacle to the implementation of the plans which they had formulated might well be both the quality and the amount of the human resources that are now available in Guyana. They had therefore suggested a number of ways of acquiring the necessary expertise. One of these was to conduct, as the NDS puts it, "a comprehensive but voluntary survey of Guyanese living overseas"; and the subsequent preparation of a register of their skills.

The relevant text of the NDS reads as follows:

"Expatriate Guyanese will be asked to supply particulars of their qualifications and relevant experience either to our Embassies and High Commissions abroad, or to a focal point in Guyana itself. It cannot be too strongly emphasised that they will be asked to volunteer this information. Once the data have been received and analysed, a number of paths will be pursued: (i) those Guyanese who have been identified as being in a position to assist the country as entrepreneurs, businessmen and investors will be specifically invited either to return and do so, or to invest from abroad; (ii) those Guyanese whose qualifications and work experience indicate that they are particularly suited for specific available positions in the Public Service, will be invited to fill them; (iii) those Guyanese who might want to assist their country but, for one reason or another, might find it difficult to remigrate permanently will be requested to return for specific assignments, from time to time, as required; and (iv) because there will almost inevitably be a number of tasks which, in this modern age of Information Technology, would not require the physical presence in Guyana of a number of Guyanese specialists, this last group of persons will be encouraged to utilise the computer and the internet to perform, from abroad, a wide range of duties. It should not be necessary to stress that such arrangements will not be undertaken in an ad hoc manner, but will be based on a carefully conceived plan, which matches qualifications and experience to job availability, which provides an affordable package of emoluments, and which in general encourages the expatriate Guyanese to want to help the country."

It takes time, as you know, fully to implement proposals such as these. I am however, taking this opportunity to ask the many overseas Guyanese who read your newspaper to register with their High Commissions and Embassies if they are interested. I hope that this request would not add to the workload of our country's overseas representatives, but I am acting on the assumption that it is one of their normal duties to record the presence of Guyanese nationals in the countries to which they are posted.

I write also to inform your readers that an agreement has been reached between the Government of Guyana and the United Nations Development Programme to conduct a study on "human and institutional capacity in Guyana". It is intended that this exercise would provide data that would be used in the preparation of Guyana's next National Human Development Report which, to a great extent, would be a national human resources survey.

Yours faithfully,

Kenneth King