Our Readers' Opinions
December 17, 2013
Caribbean diaspora’s financial assistance is second to none

Tue Dec 17, 2013

Editor: The backbone of the labour force in the British Virgin Islands is from Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Jamaica and lately there is an influx of Filipinos in this British Overseas Dependant territory.{{more}}

Reports state that Guyanese, Vincentians and Jamaicans dominate the labour market in Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts/Nevis. St. Martin, Aruba, and Cayman Islands, and Jamaicans are attracted to the Turks and Caicos. In the wider world, Caribbean nationals dominate every sphere in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of the world.

It is heartening to note that the Caribbean nationals contribute significantly to the land of their birth.

A World Bank report last week stated that the Caribbean diaspora is a sizeable, well educated, and affluent demographic whose large majority is interested in investing in the countries of origin. Due to the common heritage and strong connections across the region, they overwhelmingly take a regional approach to the Caribbean, rather than a nationalistic one. Supported by the right incentives and policies, diaspora members could play an even larger role in contributing to the region’s development.

The report added that the Caribbean diaspora is already significantly engaged in the region, with some 70 per cent being formal or informally affiliated to organizations in their home countries. Half of those surveyed send remittances and a full 85 per cent give back to the Caribbean either through financial help or other support in kind. Moreover nine out of 10 would like to be even more engaged in the future, potentially as investors. With nearly one diaspora member living in North America or Europe for every resident still in the region, this ability to engage represents a significant untapped potential.

There is also a growing community of angel investors among the diaspora that are already actively involved both where they live and back home. About 23 per cent of respondents has already invested in a start-up company of some sort in the Caribbean region. Looking forward, investors have expressed strong interest in financing sectors with high development potention for theregion, such as green energy, mobile applications, education and agribusiness.

In the light of this the regional governments should be involved and give incentives to the potential investors.

Oscar Ramjeet