In a press conference on Thursday, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, addressed the opposition’s criticism of the government’s decision to recruit healthcare workers from Bangladesh. Jagdeo emphasized that these workers will not be paid more than Guyanese once they are employed in the public sector.

“We need nurses,” Jagdeo stated, highlighting the existing shortage and the departure of nurses for higher-paying opportunities abroad. He stressed the necessity of recruiting healthcare workers to ensure quality care for the people. Refuting claims of possible opportunities for unequal pay by the opposition, Jagdeo labeled them as “patently false” and based on conjecture. He clarified that the conditions of service for foreign recruits in the public sector will be comparable to those of Guyanese workers.

The opposition had expressed concern over the government’s decision to authorize the recruitment of 500 Bangladeshi healthcare workers for both the private and public sectors. Criticizing the lack of transparency, they accused the government of favoring foreign workers over local healthcare professionals.

“It is evident that the government intends to ensure that Guyanese healthcare workers, teachers, and all public servants continue to live in poverty,” the opposition asserted. They claimed that the salaries and benefits offered to foreign workers were substantially higher than those provided to Guyanese workers, describing it as a “slap in the face” to local workers.

Furthermore, the opposition criticized the use of work contracts to recruit foreign workers, viewing it as a strategy to suppress wages and benefits for local workers. It also raised concerns about the government’s alleged attempt to introduce foreigners into society without considering the views and concerns of the people of Guyana.

Highlighting the deliberate choice of Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan workers, the opposition accused the government of using migrants to boost its popularity in traditional strongholds, citing the migrants’ eligibility to vote in Guyana after one year.

However, Dr. Jagdeo has affirmed these are lies being peddled by the opposition to drive tensions amid the upcoming 2025 general election.


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