David Hinds is wrong, dead wrong

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DR. David Hinds is a friend and someone who, whenever he visited Guyana during the dark PPP years, would join us in the ground struggle, fighting against the tons of human rights violations that were perpetuated against Guyanese.

Thus, my public disagreement with him on the issue of direct cash transfers from the oil revenue being distributed to every household across Guyana should be seen as constructive criticism, and not in any way firing off personal shots at someone who participated in the fight to rid Guyana of the corrupt and brutal PPP regime.

In fact, it is a widespread view that his suggestion on the issue is a bit too premature from a business perspective, lacks any sound economic foundation, and exposes Hinds as attempting to score some cheap and unnecessary political points in order to resurrect the WPA from its tomb. As a word of advice to him, such resurrection would take more than just soundbites about an issue that Hinds and the few members of the defunct WPA are attempting to force down the throats of the Guyanese people without any holistic or comprehensive approach.

However, before moving on to break things down in simplistic terms for the goodly professor Dr. ‘Comrade’ Hinds, here’s a quote that comes to mind, especially since he’s venturing into areas of obvious limited understanding. In the words of Murray N. Rothbard: “It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialised discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”

Interestingly, Dr. Hinds attempts to play the poor man’s role, by jumping on the top of the Kaieteur Falls bawling out: “I was born poor and lived among the poor…” This rhetoric is just an attempt to use reverse psychology on poor people, even though he’s been out of that category for decades now. Nevertheless, he sought to remind us that he was brought up in an economically poor and impoverished environment, using that outdated cry, in order to solicit emotional support for his position.

But, the truth is, apart from the cash transfers being unfeasible, the very poor people that David purports to be speaking on behalf of are not buying into his political gimmick. Hence, the poor man/woman cry has already been seen for what it is – old, sad political tunes, with no real rhythm to it.

According to a solicited quote from Dr. Mark Devonish on the issue, especially with his experience of growing up ‘dirt poor’ he opined: ‘When I was experiencing the harsh reality of poverty and if I were given the option of cash or a good education, that would have been an easy choice. I would have chosen a good education. Have equality in education regardless of the state school you attend, increase teachers’ pay, a liveable wage, so that they do not need extra-lessons. Invest in technology in schools. Discard blackboards.

Have electronic whiteboards, computers, etc.’ Indeed, what Dr. Devonish has expressed (and many others privately) is exactly what President Granger has always alluded to when confronted on the issue. His objective is and has been quite clear and particularly fair and well reasoned. Thus, there’s no evidence that he’s zig zagging on the issue, as alluded to by David Hinds, who believes that everyone is now jumping onboard and singing the WPA nursery school economic soca tune.

Here is what the President wants for the country, which includes the very poor people many seem to be bawling out about. Spending monies from oil revenues must be done with wisdom. Thus, His Excellency President Granger will focus his attention in the following areas: Education – building more schools, modernising existing ones, improving labs, increasing teacher pay, etc; Healthcare – more hospitals, health centres, highly paid doctors and nurses, and equal access to better services for everyone, irrespective of class.
Infrastructure – better roads, bridges, etc.

Salary Increases – for all Public Servants, teachers, police, prison guards, judges, magistrates, and workers in every public agency.
Judiciary – increasing the number of magistrates and judges. Social programmes within all administrative regions, that will better serve citizens in every capacity.

Sports facilities – better basketball courts, cricket grounds, soccer fields, track and field, and improved treatment of our sportsmen and women, etc. Yes, those are just some of the things that our oil monies can be spent on, that will improve the standard of living of all citizens in every corner of Guyana. And, instead of direct cash transfers, citizens will see a better and improved country, where their lives can be lifted to higher grounds through better government services.

Also, I am certain that there will be a huge increase in old age pension, and access to financial services through the Ministry of Social Services. And, maybe President Granger and his government should consider the rebirth of the Guyana National Cooperative Bank (GNCB) where low interest loans will be available to small business owners, such as vendors and others who are seeking to expand their businesses, etc.

In closing, keep in mind that, as we are approaching elections season, political parties (whether dead or alive), or those little groups that are trying to remain relevant, will be attempting to find some form of political hot topic as it brings them in the limelight.

Hence, the gaff about cash transfers. Yep, it’s just political gaff, minus any meaningful substance, or any plans with positive long term results. And fortunately, people’s eyes are not shut, they are not politically blind, and neither are they so gullible. Thankfully, this time nah long time, when people didn’t have the option of other viewpoints via social media platforms and others.

So, with these new platforms and modern political pundits on the scene, the people in Buxton, Alness, Whim, Linden, Lethem, Parika, Bartica, Ituni, etc, are more informed of situations around them, and most importantly, they know when they are being bowled with a cork ball. So, I’m sorry Dr. Hinds, people are not buying into this political gimmick and sad songs about direct cash transfers. Gosh, so glad the WPA is not in control of Guyana. Come on, David Hinds, don’t try to be an expert on everything.