Panaji, Nov 30 (IANS) Accusing expats settled in Europe of “poisoning the minds” of resident Goans, state Ports Minister Michael Lobo on Saturday said that those who have migrated to Portugal or the UK cannot comment on the goings-on in their native state, because they do not belong here anymore.
Lobo also said that Goans who have migrated to Europe and are now Overseas Citizen of India card holders should instead be more interested in their immediate surroundings in Portugal or London.
“Somebody has to stand and answer them (expats). I am there for that purpose. I will stand and answer these people, because if we do not put our foot down and send a strong message to these people, they will continue to poison the minds of the real Goans,” Lobo said at a trade event here on Saturday.
“Some of us Goans will get carried away by such talks, by such messages, by such wrong messages being spread,” Lobo said.
Lobo’s comments came at a time when the functioning of the BJP-led coalition government in the coastal state has come under severe criticism from expats, especially on social media, for the constant political defections, corruption and decisions which impact the state’s environment and demography.
Goa, which was a Portuguese colony for over 450 years, gained independence from Portuguese rule in 1961. The departing Portuguese, however, offered Goan natives Portuguese citizenship. The privilege of availing Portuguese citizenship was later granted to Goans who had lived in Portuguese-ruled Goa, as well as their off-springs up to three generations down the line.
Thousands of Goans have used the opportunity to migrate to Portugal and subsequently to the UK, thanks to the easy access across countries under the aegis of the European Union. Rough estimates suggest that up to 30,000 Goans are living in the UK, using the Portuguese citizenship route.
When one relocates to a new country, the person cannot criticise the goings-on in his or her native land, Lobo said.
“When you go there, do not comment on Goa because you are no longer a Goan. You are Overseas Citizens of India. You have to be more interested in what is happening in Portugal or in London. Leave Goa to us. We are here to take care of Goa. We know that you love Goa, but be positive about the state,” Lobo said.