Executive member of Cuffy250, Dr. David Hinds acknowledged that Black leaders in and out of government have partly contributed to the social, economic and political conditions of descendants of African slaves. “I think it is only fair that Black leaders bear some of the responsibility for what has gone wrong in the African Guyanese community,” he said.
Hinds, a Political Scientist, argued that political leaders in a multi-ethnic society such as Guyana are saddled with the burden of always trying to ensure there is multi-racial appeal which differs from the reality. “National political leaders have to play this political dance not to deal with problems head-on for fear to say that ‘I want to deal with the African problems’ you will be perceived as against the other ethnic groups and politicians, off course, are looking for votes and don’t want to be caught in that,” he said.
Hinds said Cuffy250 has been embracing like-minded organizations as well as Black political leaders and other influential persons to brainstorm the problems facing Afro-Guyanese and find solutions. “We hope that, as these leaders go into the communities, engage them not for votes but engage them on bread-and-butter issues, on how to organize and get out of these problems, that it will give them a new insight into their own constituency which I don’t think that they have because political leaders operate at a certain level,” he told a news conference.
He hoped that after 50 years of Independence, Guyana’s political leaders could craft a model to balance their national responsibilities with those of their constituency.
The Cuffy250 official hoped that that “intimate engagement” that is being offered to politicians would go sensitize them about the plight of African Guyanese especially those who are poverty-stricken.
Cuffy250, in existence for less than five years, is already boasting of gradually addressing youth unemployment, poor education, absence of entrepreneurial skills and general awareness. The organisation says it has been using events such as the annual “State of the Black and African Guyanese” forum as well as countrywide workshops.
The 2nd “State of the Black and African Guyanese” forum would be held on Sunday, August 10, 2014 at Critchlow Labour College under the theme “Guyana Approaching 50 years of Independence: Reviewing the Past and Envisioning the Future.” Cuffy250 starts off from the position that the system has yielded African Guyanese little since the country achieved political independence from Britain in 1966 despite “sincere attempts at social engineering.” “In particular, the last two decades have witnessed a rapid decline I the socio-economic and political fortunes of African Guyanese. It is for this reason that we feel it’s high time that we begin a sober assessment of our Independence project,” he said.
Among the topics to be addressed are education, youth and the law, foreign policy, African Guyanese organizations, women and violence, human rights, ethnicity and society, leadership and economic policy and development. Presenters include David Granger, Nigel Hughes , Nicole Cole, Jonathan Adams, Vincent Alexander, Carl Greenidge, Onassis Granville, Dr. David Hinds, Aubrey Norton, Dr. Norman Ng-a-Qui and Sharma Solomon.