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The Jagdeo/Ali regime intends to bring people from Afghanistan to settle here under the guise Guyana is short of skills and they can help fill the shortage. This act, given the PPP’s record on accommodating immigrants, particularly our Haitians Caribbean brothers and sisters, must not deceive us and we must be prepared to call it for what it is.
Only some are worthy to be in Guyana, under any guise facilitated by the regime, as some are openly rejected, or stringent restrictions put in place for no other reason than their physical characteristics and historical demonisation.
What unique skills set the proposed thousands of Afghans would bring that cannot be sourced from Guyanese, home or in the diaspora, or from Haitians or other members of the CARICOM? What unique skills Afghans have that are not indigenous to us?
We must start asking serious questions apart from obvious discrimination against Guyanese and the CARICOM family.
If Guyana is looking for immediate skills in the oil and gas sector, there is a wealth of that in Trinidad and Tobago. There are several Guyanese in the diaspora with similar expertise and would happily serve if asked to. Guyanese know more than five years ago Guyana would have needed such skills, but the government failed to put measures in place to equip the citizens. When the Critchlow Labour College attempted to make a contribution, the college was stymied by political machinations.
If the Jagdeo/Ali regime is looking for agricultural skills, they are right here, and the Haitians are considered among the best in the region.
Haitians are revered in Caribbean circles as hard workers and outstanding farmers. Their accomplishments in taming Haiti’s topography and cultivating crops is legendary. Haitians are working on farms throughout the Caribbean, in northern Brazil and Central America. They are hired for their skills, competencies and dedication to the land.
If it is an issue of language, English is not the official language of Afghanistan as it is not for Haiti. Haitians are multilingual. They speak French, creole, Spanish and English. Afghans are multilingual but they speak Pashto and Dari Persian.
If Guyana is sourcing security skills, these are right here. Guyana has significant manpower from the state’s military and paramilitary services that are competent in the area. One of the unique features of this sector is that persons can retire after 33 1/3-year service to the state which means many are still relatively in their prime and can ably contribute. They are also Guyanese who are willing to entire the field and contribute to national development if there is a shortage here.
Afghanistan has been at war with other countries and among themselves for decades. After 20 years of war with the Afghan people over terrorism the United States walked away last year. The moment the United States left the Taliban has overthrown the official government and taken over the reins of state. Prior to the United States’ invasion there was the Soviet–Afghan nine-year guerrilla war (Dec 24, 1979 – Feb 15, 1989).
With the above being said the government must come clean and say to this nation what skill(s) Afghans bring that cannot be sourced here, from among CARICOM member states and associates, or Guyanese in the diaspora.
Guyanese must begin to ask questions, including the uncomfortable ones. Our ancestors did not fight for their freedoms and to peacefully co-exist as diverse groups in this land called Guyana, that they have bequeathed us, to now trade centuries of sacrifices and achievements for sinister political agenda.
Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow, Father of Trade Unionism in the British Commonwealth and Guyana’s national hero, did not gave his life for the empowerment, respect and development of Guyanese labour (past, present and potential) and this country to have these snatched from us by sinister forces with sinister agenda.