Response to David Hinds

The letters pages and columns of the dailies in Guyana oftentimes make for revealing reading, not so much regarding what is said as much as about who is saying it.
For example there is one regular (almost daily) letter writer who usually starts off with a baseless assumption and then proceeds to draw a crooked line, a mile long, to a foregone conclusion. Another letter writer, one supposedly versed in the law, churns out the most illogical claims in what is turning out to a one-woman campaign to negate the rights of Indo Guyanese to be living in their homeland. Meanwhile the public is still awaiting her answers to questions posed to her by fellow legal luminary, Anil Nandlall, as well as to the legal holes to her argumentation pointed out in a very germane letter by Roger Ally. Also there is a columnist who, regardless of what he starts off with, always ends up making the column about himself. He is always the ‘good guy’ whose mission in life is to expose the ‘bad guys’, who generally seem to be everyone else barring a handful. Narcissism aside, the manifestations of this character’s Don Quixote complex, Goebellian outlook and Herculean sense of self importance usually provides comic relief in between his rare moments of lucidity.
Then there is my erstwhile friend David Hinds, an academic and analyst whose writings I treat with a great deal of circumspection, but who, every once in a while seems to have one of those days when his disingenuity is a wonder to behold. Take for example, David’s letter in the Stabroek News of January 13, entitled ‘There needs to be a ‘New Black Cultural Revolution’”. I’m pretty sure all Guyana support wholeheartedly cultural revolutions so that our nation may flower in all its resplendence. However, while David’s argumentation that Afro Guyanese need to take responsible for advancing their communities and bettering their lives resonates, especially given that the upliftment of any segment of the nation leads to upliftment of the nation itself, how does one interpret David’s statement, “In the case of Guyana, the African condition since emancipation has been largely affected by colonialism and the negative competition with Indian Guyanese for control of the Guyanese space”? How/why are Africans and Indians competing for Guyanese space in a nation where 75% of the space is still uninhabited? And even if one were to give credence to this assertion what characterizes it as negative?
David asserts also that, “Economic power is seen as beyond the reach and capacity of African Guyanese”. Seen by whom and why? Besides, is economic power bestowed by the government? If so then how come Africans did not accrue concomitant economic power during the 28 years of PNC rule? And if David is suggesting that PNC rule was as debilitating on the African community as it was on the Indian community then by what logic are things different under the PPP/C, especially given that many of its critics, David included, point out that its governance had exhibited all of the pathologies of the PNC government? Besides, whatever the policies and programs perpetuated by the PPP/C government, do they not, by and large, encompass all Guyanese? Or is David saying that Indians are subjected to a qualitatively different set of policies and programs? One cannot help but infer an insidious insinuation by David that somehow Indians are responsible for the condition of blacks.
David also asserts, “…in the realm of politics African Guyanese have no say in the administration of Guyana.” Really David? So all those African Guyanese who operate at various levels of the political and administrative structure (including dominating the public service and military/paramilitary forces) are doing exactly what? Unless, of course, David is saying that for Africans to have a say in the administration of Guyana the PNC has to be in power, which would then, using David’s logics, mean that Indians would have no say in the administration of Guyana. And assuming that David’s assertion has credence is he suggesting that Indians are responsible for African Guyanese having“….no say in the administration of Guyana”?
Finally Mr. Editor, although David’s recommendations are indeed about ‘black people’s business’, implicit in those recommendations are assertions that seem somehow, to be passed off as facts, based almost exclusively on David’s say so and seemingly suggesting that there is a concerted campaign to ensure that African communities are victimized every which way. And this being so, given this ‘negative’ competition for space that David references, the implication is that Indians are responsible for the condition of the African. Thus, for example “The (African) communities are no longer a source of education, cultural uplift and resistance” because of Indians. And, by the way, resistance to who/what and, in what forms?
Mr. Editor, given that this insidious manner of demonizing Indians goes against the grain of previous writings of David Hinds such as his September 30th article on entitled “Don’t fight Indians, fight the system’, one is compelled to ask: has David Hinds undergone an epiphany? Or is he trying to reclaim ground lost as a result of his positions relating to President’s 2010 visits to Buxton and subsequent related actions, all of which seemed to have been well received by many Buxtonians.
Regarding those recommendations also, one would hope that David is not suggesting that Africans must become an ‘island unto themselves’ separate from the rest of Guyana. For the simple reality is that, all groups must interact and socialize with each other for Guyana to be.
And while we’re at it Mr. Editor one would hope that David’s recommendation: “That the African Guyanese organizations conduct a fact-finding mission in the African Guyanese communities to determine the extent of the alienation, marginalization and suffering” will indeed unearth the facts so that it will become clear that Indians as a group have nothing to do with African marginalization. Hopefully also this mission will clarify that African marginalization (like that of other groups) is political rather than ethnic in nature. Also perhaps its time for fact finding missions by Indians and Amerindians to also determine the extent of the alienation, marginalization and suffering of Indians and Amerindians, since all the indicators point to marginalization across the board.

About caribvoice

Free lance journalist, educator and community activist. Guyana born New York based.
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