I REFER to two letters written by the accountant, Nigel Hinds, in which he criticised the SARA Bill and attacked Professor Clive Thomas and the WPA. The letters were published in the Kaieteur News under the following captions: “Nigel Hinds takes issue with Dr. Clive Thomas on SARU” (Feb 16, 2017), and “Clive Thomas and the WPA have abandoned the Guyanese working class” (Feb 18, 20017).
Dr. David Hind, an Executive member of the WPA responded to Nigel Hinds’ missives in a letter captioned, “My critique of Nigel Hinds’ criticism of Clive Thomas” (KN. Sunday, Feb 19, 2017).
I fully respect David Hinds’ opinion on matters which he has expressed his views on, although I do not necessarily agree with everything he says. One of the things I am in disagreement with is when he said in his letter that “Nigel Hinds does not set out to give the PPP a pass, but his twisting of the discourse away from its central objective of confronting the PPP’ s corruption will end up achieving that objective.”
I am contending here that David, in the remarks I have just alluded to, has attempt at reset the discourse in doing so had, unintentionally, created space for Nigel Hinds, giving him cover.
I am not prepared to do the same. In my opinion, a rat is a rat; plain and straight. Only time will determine to what extent people like Nigel Hinds can withstand scrutiny.
Nigel Hinds was politically abusive in his letters, and deserves to be exposed for what he is: A member of the business/political alliance against SARU and the government. Readers will see that the posture assumed by him in his letters; the attacks on WPA and SARU/SARA and the scurrilous remarks directed to Professor Clive Thomas are being spouted by individuals who, I believe, are inextricably linked, professionally and or personally, to persons who are under suspicion of wrongdoing.
I am strongly of the view that what motivates them is their fear of exposure; and therefore, for them, their survival as pseudo law-abiding citizens is to stop the Bill at all cost. That is why they are ranting and raving in the way they are.
I will not spend much time on addressing Nigel Hinds’ challenge on Clive Thomas’ findings on the criminal state and the underground economy, since this information was in the public domain for many years.
**During that period Nigel Hinds was conspicuous by his silence on the Professor’s expressed views. He never wrote anything on them in those years. The question is why now? Readers can form their own conclusion. His rejection of SARU’s estimate of the amount of gold that is smuggled out of the country annually and what is lost to the state, given the high level of corruption is another matter. Hinds act as if this is the first occasion that SARU has made its projections known. No it is not. This was first done months ago and it was repeated on several occasions. Again, the records will show that Hinds was silent on these pronouncements. So I ask the question again why only now? His so called sincerity and motive on these important national issues are called into question.
Politically, Nigel Hinds has chosen to repeat the PPP’s propaganda on all issues be it Guysuco, the SARA Bill, Prado Ville 2, audits, the economy, alleged capital flight from the economy etc. etc. etc. While I disagree with him I recognize that he is entitled to his political choices. However, it is clear to me that his attempt to sow the seeds of division between the Ministry of Finance and SARU is nothing short of wickedness, which must be exposed. He writes, “It is unfortunate that the emergence of SARU has adversely affected the efforts by our Honorable Minister of Finance, Mr. Winston Jordan, who is trying mightily to set our economic ship on course for improved economic growth”. His view that SARU is undermining the efforts of the Minister and the economy is hogwash to say the least.
He also cited SARU as being responsible for commercial banks being unable to supply clients demand for foreign currency,” The general thrust of the post May 2015 government is to spend an extraordinary amount of time and money to set up a so-called “apparatus of anti-corruption” units, led by the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU). Hopefully, common sense will prevail and the bill never becomes an act”. Like the PPP and the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Nigel Hinds wants to see the death of the SARA bill. He claimed that SARA is a “monster” created by the APNU+AFC government to deal with its political opponents and cited the case against former President Bharrat Jagdeo and Prado Ville 2. What I find interesting is that while Hinds rails against, the coalition government spending extraordinary amounts of time of money to set up apparatus of anti-corruption units, he seems not to have any problems of accepting commissions, valued millions of dollars, to carry out audits into the operations of a number of agencies which resulted in the identification of numerous acts of wrongdoing by officials of those agencies. It is those findings which have shown the necessity for the establishment, as he puts it, of a so called “apparatus of anti-corruption” units. Nigel Hinds it is the conclusions of you and others which have established the foundation for the establishment of the anti-corruption units. If all of you now feel that your findings were wrong say so and give back the money you were paid. You cannot have your cake and eat it.
While I will ignore for the moment Mr. Hinds erroneous attacks on the WPA and his idiotic suggestion that the state assets recovery process should start from 1968 and include election rigging, I am not inclined to let him get away with his ridiculous insinuations in relation to Professor Clive Thomas, a true Guyanese patriot who, with little or no concern for material gains, is giving his all to help build a new Guyana for future generations,. Nigel Hinds wrote, “The positions Dr. Clive Thomas has been assigned post May 2015 elections are multiple: 1) Presidential Advisor, 2) Head of SARU, 3) Chairman of Guysuco and, 4) Commissioner on the Guysuco Commission of Inquiry. Dr. Thomas is now deeply comfortably entrenched in the bosom of the APNU/AFC government “. Readers will note this is a line of attack being directed to Professor Thomas by a set of persons who among other things, envy his ability, his honesty, his integrity and not least of all, his much vaunted local, regional and international reputation. They fear his presence in SARU soon to become SARA, because they know none of them can approach him with an offer not to do his work. There is information out there that a lot of them, who in their professional pursuit have acquired untold millions, have dirty hands. Yet they dare to attack someone whose character is unblemished. I wish to say that Professor Clive Thomas in pursuit of all the work which he has undertaken on behalf of the coalition government since his appointment in June 2015 is the recipient of a single salary (not four as some may wish to imply) as Head of SARU and all the other positions he has been pointed to he served free of charge. And his salary, given his responsibilities, is modest. If Thomas is politically comfortable in the government it is because he and the WPA have earned it given our history of struggle and the role we played in bringing about political change.
Mr. Mike Rahman in an email reminded me that Mr. Nigel Hinds was contracted by the government to do the Forensic Audit on the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB). Rahman, a former member of the GRDB Board of Directors, a political activist and a knowledge rice farmer, expressed the view that Nigel Hinds, the Auditor, did a very poor job in his examination into the affairs of GRDB. I am not surprised by this information given the views he stated in his letters and the dislike he has for the government. In reflecting on this matter I am forced to ask whether the government went after Mr. Hinds to do the Audit of the GRDB or he actively canvassed for the contract. However, he came by the contract and given his views that the Forensic Audits are a waste of tax payers’ money and they are having negative effects on the economy and country – Why did he allow himself to be drawn into this useless endeavour? To all appearances the money aspect seems to have overridden any principle which he may want to claim he possesses.
I conclude by making this point: While my comrade and friend David Hinds chose to be polite in his polemics with Mr. Nigel Hinds and attributed his missives as unintentionally giving the PPP a pass, I submit that the evidence in the letters undoubtedly tells a different story i.e. Nigel Hind’s intent as expressed in those letters was unambiguous.