– says ‘absentmindedness’ of cabinet partly to blameA policy to have overseas-based Guyanese contribute to their homeland has been languishing before cabinet. According to Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, this is due to priorities and a bit of ‘absentmindedness’.The policy in question is the Diaspora Engagement Strategy, especially important considering the current development of the oil and gas sector. But according to Greenidge during a press conference on Monday, cabinet is yet to have a look at the strategy.“That paper has been before cabinet for the longest while, and cabinet has not been able to look at it for reasons that have to do with priority, and perhaps a little bit of absent-mindedness; because it’s been done a long time ago,” Greenidge hadPresident David Granger with cabinet after being elected in 2015explained.Government had caught flak, and the average age of the cabinet had come under the microscope after former Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), Justice (retd) Cecil Kennard, was asked by Government to step down from his post, reportedly because of his age. President David Granger had reportedly asked Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan to write Kennard, asking him to resign.Political commentator Dr David Hinds had said that if Government has a policy on age, then it needs to make it known while explaining the reasoning behind Kennard’s displacement.“I know of many people in Government service who are nearing 80 and doing good work. There are also some Ministers who are not too far away from 80 years old; should they be removed from Cabinet because of their age? I think not,” he had pointed out.MeetingsMeanwhile, Greenidge explained that successful visits and meetings have been held in Georgia and New York, United States of America and Toronto, Canada. There, the Guyanese delegation met with professional bodies and international companies such as NCR Automation. He was also questioned about exactly what the diaspora meetings would accomplish, and whether they were related to the oil and gas sector.“The discussions with the diaspora do not focus on local content for the oil and petroleum sector. There are discussions, for example in Toronto and Florida in general. In Toronto, a number of agencies and diaspora groups which perhaps specialise in assisting members of the diaspora getting access in business and utilising their technical skills, we met with those, and they indicated in what capacity they can help.“And that information has been passed both to the University, the GTI, the Ministries of Business and Agriculture, to follow up with these persons and groups so they can collaborate and make use of the information being provided. We also met with a couple of firms who are interested in collaborating but in their case, they offered training in a variety of areas.”Last year, it was announced that consultation would be carried out with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). These discussions were all with the view of creating the strategy.