These ‘tears’ for Sam Hinds

by Rickey Singh
Barbados Nation
September 3, 1999

I AM amused by the “crocodile” tears being shed by the People’s National Congress (PNC) in Guyana and some of its apologists abroad for Samuel Hinds because he was not appointed, instead of Bharrat Jagdeo, to succeed Janet Jagan as the new executive president of that country.

Make no mistake, they care not for Hinds. And their simulated anger has nothing to do either with any constitutional violation, of which there was none, or about good governance and democracy, a concept that was reduced to a dangerous farce under the PNC’s 28-year rule to which the Caribbean needs no introduction.

It is simply another opportunity to exploit feelings of racial insecurity as they whack the People’s Progressive Party (PPP)/Civic government, of which Hinds has been Prime Minister since October 1992 when electoral democracy was finally restored in Guyana following successive PNC administrations based on vote rigging.

A coalition government, anywhere, and however structured, is based on mutual agreement with the expectation that the agreement will be honoured. During the 1997 general election, it was made public that should it become necessary, Finance Minister Bharrat Jagdeo would succeed President Jagan based on the Guyana Constitution.

This meant that Hinds would first have to resign since the prime minister is the first in line to be president. The PNC and all other parties, indeed the Guyanese people as a whole knew about this.

A journalist colleague may have unintentionally ended up being personally offensive to Hinds when her satirical journalism equated the Guyanese Prime Minister with a sewage company’s truck in Barbados reading: “We’re No.1 in the No. Business”. I want to believe that on reflection this unnecessary personal insult would have been noted.

Having fun at Hinds’s expense with attempted satirical journalism is one thing. But claiming “rape” of the Guyana constitution and spreading racism under “academic” cover as a Kean Gibson did in a letter to the DAILY Nation on August 19, is quite a different story.

Those with a penchant for identifying themselves by their connection with the University of the West Indies at least owe it to fellow academic colleagues and the students of this regional institution of higher learning to show some respect for facts. I wonder what other academics had to say after reading the particular contribution by “senior lecturer” Gibson.

Another example of disrespect for facts came in yet another prominently featured letter in the DAILY Nation of August 31 signed by Roger Moore on: History Repeating Itself.

The letter writer could very well be the same PNC activist who was a platform speaker for the party during the 1997 election, and who propagandises for the PNC on his regular Cross Talk programme on Channel 9 TV in Georgetown.

I personally wish for Barbadians and other West Indians to take up Moore’s invitation to “come to Guyana and see for yourselves what is happening”.

For a start, they will lose little time finding out about the disgusting, racist nature of his pro-PNC politics and programmes on Channel 9. Perhaps the Nation itself should check on Moore’s fulminations.

Right now, the focus in Guyana has shifted to the split decision of a three-member Arbitration Tribunal on salary increases for public servants, with the government facing the challenging task of implementing the majority view amid some unnecessary breast-beating about “personal integrity”.

The relevant issues will be examined later.

• Rickey Singh is a noted Caribbean journalist.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples