Five months after Political Science Professor, David Hinds’ column was dropped from the state-owned and government controlled Guyana Chronicle newspaper, President David Granger made known his displeasure with one of the columns that was written two years ago.
Hinds has since maintained that his positions are rooted in historical evidence and he has rejected the President’s claim that he is opposed to African Guyanese joining political parties.
Using the opportunity of Cuffy250’s Annual State of African Guyanese, the President told the gathering that the writer, whom he did not name, failed to back his assertions with research, resulting in them being “fake theories”.
Granger suggested that positions such as those taken by Hinds amounted to a stumbling block to address a range of socioeconomic problems such as unemployment, school-dropouts and teenage pregnancy. Though the President did not refer to Hinds by name, he quoted several sections of the column written by that founding member of Cuffy250, and contended that Political Scientist did not back his assertions with research, resulting in them being “fake theories”.
“There can be no credible research to explain these reckless pronouncements and I am convinced that national problems can be resolved but they cannot be resolved by fake theories, by inventing fake notions that refute reality and in fact they impede the means of solving problems that confront society because they feel that these problems are insoluble,” said Granger, a former journalist and historian. He recommended that steps be taken to determine the cause of “pervasive social problems” before finding the solutions. “We should not deny there are problems”.
For his part, Hinds said the President was similarly guilty of not scientifically proving that African Guyanese were often seeking small financial handouts, idling and not taking advantage of self-employment opportunities in the agricultural sector and other spheres of endeavour in his 2018 Emancipation eve speech at Beterverwagting (BV), East Coast Demerara. “The President was quoting (me) from a newspaper column, not a research paper. In any case the president should have heeded his own advice at BV when he did not present any data to prove his thesis about African Guyanese attitude to work and in support of his other comments about the group. It is only fair that he applies the same standards to himself that he does for me,” Hinds said.
Hinds believed that the President retaliated to his criticism of the Beterverwagting speech in a newspaper column that could be read here . “It is clear the president was uncomfortable with my critique of his BV speech and used his speech yesterday (Sunday) to get back at me. But in the process he omitted the context of my comments, created his own context and placed my comments there to make his case about denialism,” said Hinds.
Granger suggested that Hinds was engaged in “indiscriminate denigration of whole sections of society” such as claiming that African Guyanese practice self-hatred. “When you consider there are about 250,000 African Guyanese, how could you intelligently say that African Guyanese practice self-hatred or that African Guyanese suffer from cultural blindness or that African Guyanese were surrendering their collective dignity to the dictates of party politics or how could he attack African Guyanese for losing faith in the ability to overcome… the emancipation spirit.
In his reaction, Hinds maintained that African Guyanese were bowing to dictates of political parties because post-colonial history shows that they go as far as giving up their personal rights in favour of political parties. “African Guyanese have often defended their political party, they have often subsumed their ethnic and cultural interest to the dictates of the party and in defence of the party and I think that has not always served us well in the sense that political parties are not usually agents of change as far as ethnic interests are concerned,” he said.
Hinds noted that Granger’s People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) never says it is an African Guyanese party and has never held rigidly to the standard that they have to look after the interest of African Guyanese. The outspoken Working People’s Alliance Executive Member rubbished the President’s position that he does not want African Guyanese to be associated with political parties. “For the president to come to some conclusion that I want to deny African Guyanese the right to organise and belong to political parties, I think is utter nonsense and I think the President knows better than that. I belong to a political party and I have organised people to join political parties and for the President to come to some conclusion that I want to deny African Guyanese the right to organise and belong to political parties, I think is utter nonsense and I think the President knows better than that,” he said.
Hinds said African Guyanese should not only be concerned with politics but with addressing their ethnic, economic and cultural concerns. “African Guyanese have to find a balance between their defence of their party and the defence of their ethnic interest and their cultural interest and their economic interest,” he said.
The President accused Hinds of stating that African Guyanese were self-haters who were believed that they were not equipped to improve their condition. “And most of all this acclaimed writer claimed that there has been no bigger sinner against the Black man, since emancipation, than the Black man himself. These words were written and published by a Guyanese. It is a form of denial that the whole group in society has the capacity, has the self-esteem, the self-respect to transform their lives, to belong to political parties to improve their lives, to be culturally aware so my brothers and sisters, I just want to alert you to the danger of the denialism that is not only affecting other countries but is also affecting Guyanese as well,” Granger said.
On the question of self-hatred in the Black community is centuries old dating back to the plantation slavery period, Hinds said Granger’s position was “somewhat misleading” and has characterised as “mental slavery” by Marcus Garvey. “The question of self-hatred is an ongoing one that we have had to deal with. For the President to conclude that because I dealt with that question I am in some kind of denial about the capacity of African Guyanese to overcome is somewhat misleading because the President and all Guyana know that I have written so much about African Guyanese, I have spoken about the African Guyanese condition and I have never doubted the capacity of African Guyanese.” he said.
Hinds and veteran trade unionist, Lincoln Lewis were removed as columnists of the state-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper in March, 2018. Back then, government had denied any political involvement in the decision, instead saying that had been a decision for the board of the Guyana National Newspapers Limited, publishers of the newspaper.