I listened with concern and disgust as Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, commented on local media that Guyana will have to import labor for the ongoing oil and gas projects across the country. And I can’t help but wonder: is this really necessary?
Importing skilled labor and expertise where the country is lacking is one thing, but Guyana has long been known as a breeding ground for cheap labor and so many other countries, including the United States, import labourers from Guyana on a regular basis. Combine this with the high unemployment rate currently existing in Guyana and the need for imported labor is truly elusive.
I trust that the Vice President was not serious when he made that comment. After all, excessive imports, above all things, has been one of the things that has plagued this country for decades. Importing labor would now be taking it a step too far.
There are too many thousands of Guyanese in need of work in Guyana to look abroad for a labour force at this time. Incorporating Guyanese into the existing and expanding labour market would help to fight crime and eliminate poverty at the same time.
It is time that the leaders of Guyana act more responsibly in spreading out Guyana’s wealth across the country instead of giving it wholesale to the world as has been the common practice for decades.