IOM and Guyana Launch Diaspora Engagement Project

Guyana - IOM Director General William Lacy Swing and the President of the Republic of Guyana, Donald Romator, will tomorrow launch the Guyana Diaspora (GUYD) project, designed to contribute to the economic development of Guyana through the support and engagement of the Guyanese Diaspora.

The GUYD project, created in collaboration with the Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a one-year initiative which began in April 2012 that seeks to engage the Guyanese diaspora all over the world by documenting the skills, resources, interests and plans of those willing to support the country’s development.

“The diaspora can make many contributions including remittances, transferable skills, and networks which are integral to the development of a modern, knowledge-based economy.  Harnessing and organizing these contributions to leverage the goodwill and resources of the diaspora requires sustained attention and a strategy which includes mapping diaspora geography and skills, which the Government of Guyana has embarked upon with this project,” said Director General Swing.

Migration from Guyana started in the 1960s due to the unstable economic conditions which prevailed at that time.  Over the years, the migrant Guyanese population has increased, creating skills shortages in many sectors. 

Although Guyanese diaspora can be found in almost any part of the world, the more qualified and skilled migrants, such as teachers and nurses, are in the United Kingdom, North America and in the Caribbean countries of Barbados, Antigua, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Data from the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs suggests that from 1990 to mid-2010 there were an estimated 11,599 international migrants from Guyana living around the world.  But the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) reported that at the end of 2005 there were approximately 200,000 regularized Guyanese migrants in the country.  This number does not include irregular migrants, which are estimated at more than 250,000.

Through a mapping exercise, the project sets out to acquire information on persons, organizations and associations that constitute the diaspora, in which regions/countries they can be found, and what skills they possess and are willing to share.

The project will also facilitate an assessment through a consultative process with the Government of Guyana and the private sector to determine the existing skills and needs in Guyana.  This information will be used in the second phase of the project to facilitate the matching of skills to the needs and gaps within the private and public sectors in Guyana.

The GUYD Project will be launched on Wednesday, 26 September 26 at 6:00pm at the New York Marriott East Side, 525 Lexington Avenue at 49th Street, New York, NY.

Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs Guyana; Bayney Karran, Guyana’s Ambassador to the USA; and Brentnold Evans, Guyana’s Consul General, as well as some 250 representatives of Guyanese diaspora groups are expected to attend.

IOM will present a copy of its publication: Developing a Road Map for Engaging Diasporas in Development:  A Handbook for Policymakers and Practitioners in Home and Host Countries.

For more information please contact

Rui Reis Oliveira
IOM Guyana
Tel: +592 225 3745