GEORGETOWN, Guyana, May 17, CMC – The Guyana government Monday insisted that the May 22 diaspora conference should not be viewed as another “talk shop” but will facilitate constructive dialogue in keeping with President Irfaan Ali’s promise to “aggressively pursue the involvement of the diaspora in national development.
“This is not just another conference. The fact that you have the President, the Vice President, several ministers of Government addressing key topics; it is intended to be one with a specific outcome and one that will inform government policy and interaction… this conference is about ensuring there is sustained and long term results,” Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud, told a news conference.
He told reporters that the virtual conference is intended to provide a platform of exchange between the government and the diaspora, while at the same time, clarifying that it is not intended to offer any preference to the diaspora but rather equal opportunities.
The government has said that through the initiative, participants will hold discussions on a range of issues, including remigration, tourism, trade, investment prospects, youth engagement opportunities and philanthropy.
It will also be attended by representatives from several government agencies, including the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest), the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA).
The Diaspora Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said 500 groups and individuals from across the diaspora have already registered and that registration will close when 1,000 people have been registered.
Head of that Unit, Rosalinda Rasul, told reporters that while groups in Guyana will be a part of the conference, the majority of registration came from the United States and Canada. She said groups in United Kingdom have also shown interest in the initiative.
Rasul said prior to the conference, the Unit has been engaging groups globally to advance the government’s diaspora development agenda.
The conference will be held under the theme “A New Era of Engagement for the Guyanese Diaspora”.