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Op-Ed: Global Goans convention in Oman a waste of public money Special

By Armstrong Vaz     Oct 27, 2009 in Lifestyle
Former Federal minister of state for foreign affairs Eduardo Faleiro’s entourage will dock in Oman for two days for the Global Goans convention in the first week of next month.
It is one of the GCC countries which have the least number of Goans. Kuwait has the largest contingent, followed by UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in that order. But politics and political reasoning defy ground realties and Eduardo’s core group decision to hold the convention is Oman cannot be faulted on that count.
The Non-resident India (NRI) Goa cell commissioner is carrying with him a huge entourage, Doctor Oscar Rebello, Professor Prajal, Vincy Quadors and many others, know and unknown faces, from Goa, all the cost of public money. Is the Global Goans convention spending a justified move, in the time when many retrenched Goans are suffering and fighting a battle of their own, is a debatable issue.
And is the NRI Goa cell really reaching out to the NRI Goans in the true sense of the term? My interaction with the cell more on a personal level has been disappointing.
Two years back, I had sent a email to the commissioner inquiring about the legal position vis-à-vis, regarding buying or holding Indian property in India for a Goan-born Indian who acquires Portuguese citizenship. I also had mentioned in my letter, as to the what was the legal position regarding existing properties held by such Goans who have acquired Portuguese citizenship and whether they will become evacuee property at any time in the near future if there are no heirs of that particular person or if he has not made a will.
I am still awaiting a reply from the honorable Eduardo Bab.
The legal point came to the fore recently in some business related dispute at a forum among the NRI’s.
Are such Portuguese citizens allowed to do business in India, that was the question, and whether you can hold dual citizenship. The condition for acquiring Portuguese passport is that you have surrender your Indian passport and collect the Portuguese passport, Indians are not allowed to hold dual citizenship. But, some Indians have held on to both the passports, thereby contravening the provisions of the Passport Act.
Is it legally acceptable is question of law, which can be best answered by the Indian passport authorities.
But some Goans including some of my friends and relatives have tries to beat the law by acquiring the Portuguese citizenship while their wives have retained Indian citizenship, and some of them have been conducting business in the name of their wife’s, perfectly justified and a good business acumen, I will say.
But is the business of holding a convention and flying a host of speakers at Government expense to Oman a prudent decision, certainly not, and mind you Eduardo and his NRI cell has been splurging money left and right on the foreign jaunts, a fact well documented by senior journalist Lionel Messais in on his blog—
Eduardo and the ageing set of politicians having had a taste of flying regularly on foreign jaunts feel the pangs of not regularly flying to different lands. The conventions and tours are ostensibly to enjoy the red carpet thrown by Goans in different parts of the world and also from the local governments.
I dare challenge Eduardo bab to prove me wrong.
First I will like to question him, what has been the follow up of the last three conventions held in Goa, Portugal, and Canada in that order and the major decision that have been implemented.
I am skeptical that the Oman convention is certainly going to go the same way, drain of money and no fruitful plan of action, like the earlier ones.
I read that at the last convention in Canada someone moved a resolution of every Goan donating one dollar for Goa’s cause. Passing resolutions and making speeches is a different thing and actual implementation is a difficult proposition taking into account the different homogenous mass differences that Goans carry with them from Goa throughout the world.
Eduardo bab may it be clear to you and to your core group you do not need conventions, you do not need a global melas—like your loan meals of the old of your good old days as fertilizers minister, who do not have to travel to foreign lands if you want sincerely to implement and execute a policy for NRI Goans, it can be done from home.
The only need needed is sincerity of effort and a lot of home work, which sadly is lacking among the Goan retired bureaucrats who part of your entourage. You need young minds and not the rusted brains of the old government bureaucrats whose time can come to pack the bags and go home.
We do not need sermons from someone like Oscar Rebello to tell us what Goa needs from the NRI Gaons. With due respect to the doctor, who has won many a hearts with his oratory, Goans in Goa need more of you than the NRI Goans.
And mind you the majority of the Goans who are attending with due apologies to my friends and well wishers, some of whom are attending at their own cost flying from different countries, some of the speakers handpicked are Eduardo’s men.
While the Global Goan convention will see the elite, who who of Goa enjoy the banquet, the convention will have no meaning for the poor workers who work as drivers, house attendants, helpers and several others who do menial jobs and how suffer at the hands of their employers not knowing who, whom, where to approach for help in time of need. The so-called Goan associations just a paper show.
And if the NRI Cell was not forthcoming to my regarding my Portuguese passport it was quick to reply to my another mail send some five months back, pertaining to Goans languishing in jails in a particular GCC country.
They were absolutely in the dark and wrote back saying that they rely on family members and relatives to gather information on such cases. Then what is the role of the so-called Goan organization.
Prudence demands that the Goan association should have a data base of Goans but even the NRI Cell does not have any data on Goans in a specific GCC country. A sad fact, the NRI Cell Goa Card scheme has been a non-starter as many NRI Goans are least interested in having the Card.
One of the topic of discussion on the agenda is Goa yesterday, Goa Today, will there be Goa tomorrow?
At a rate on which migration is taking place and in migration infiltrating Goa, some have been left asking the question --is there a future for Goa and Goans for tomorrow in their own land.
That is a question all of us should answer more on an individual level and also at a collective scale. Many Goans forsake the land in the greed for money. But it is time we save what is left of Goa, but sadly the melas, conventions are not an answer to Goa’s ills, sad to say Eduardo bab. R u listening.
And I request each of the speakers at the convention some of whom are my old friends and some my new friends to please update us on the decisions taken at the convention.
I also request you that you please post your speeches on Goa net or on the NRI Cell website so that we can keep a track, as to whether and whatever you have suggested is implemented in the long run. And we as active netcitizens pull up the NRI Cell for any lapse in the future.
And I am waiting for a feedback from people related and non-related with the convention to enlighten me on the aims and objectives of the convention and the plan of action or agenda or roadmap for progress of Goa charted by NRI Goans, with convention at the rallying point.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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