FORMER President and Prime Minister Sam Hinds is a model leader. He has consistently opposed elections-rigging. He is among a few leaders who courageously championed democracy since the launch of GUARD. He excoriated African leaders who closed their eyes and mouths to rigging by the PNC+AFC and or encouraged Africans to enjoin rigged elections in Guyana between 1965 and 1985 and in 2020. Mr Hinds’ (no relation to WPA’s controversial Dr David Hinds) consistency of character and principle is to be emulated, especially by emerging young politicians and leaders. I also categorically condemn those who sought to besmirch the character of this respected African elder and illustrious son of Guyana, who served various periods as Prime Minister and President for almost 23 years. I spent much time between 1966 and 1992 and again on 2020, combating rigging without looking forward for benefits unlike several others. So I can relate to Sam.
The international community, diplomats in Guyana, and local and international observers condemned the attempted election coup of last March 2, describing the efforts as a transparent attempt to publicly rig the 2020 elections, including the 1978 rigged referendum by the PNC. Forbes Burnham, Desmond Hoyte, and other PNC leaders presided over and directed rigged elections in Guyana. One does not forget the speech in Atlanta by David Granger on the Coalition with regard to remaining in office. Sam Hinds rightly and courageously took some African leaders to task.
Sam, as he is popularly called, is a man of integrity and decency. Unlike most other African leaders, he could not bring himself to close his eyes on or support electoral fraud for the PNC to remain in government. He could not bring himself to support those who see Indians and other ethnic groups in multi-cultural Guyana as enemies who must be kept down and denied power through electoral fraud. Key Africans in the election machinery were instructed to rig the election to keep the PNC in office. Sam could not support such skullduggery. He embraces equality and respect for the law and the will of the voters. He could not bring himself to support those who sought to keep Indians and other ethnic groups in multi-cultural Guyana out of power and as enemies, who must be kept down. What if leaders of Indians and other ethnic groups had instructed their people to engage in electoral fraud?
Clearly, Sam endorses the words of wisdom expressed by the African academic, Dr. Chuba Okakigbo, who stated: “If you are emotionally attached to your tribe or political leaning to the point that truth and justice become secondary considerations, then your education is useless. Your exposure is useless. If you cannot reason beyond petty sentiments, you are a liability to mankind.”
Contrary to what one Afro-Guyanese racist penned denigrating Sam Hinds, Sam served his race and other ethnic groups with distinction. He was no racist. While he was PM, he had responsibility for energy, among other departments. He made sure that Linden continued to receive free, uninterrupted electricity when the rest of the nation was suffering from blackouts. Also, as a Lindener, he played a crucial role in rescuing the bauxite industry that was earlier closed by the PNC. He championed and delivered to bauxite workers more than their union leaders; bauxite workers benefited tremendously under the PPP.
Moses Nagamootoo, who was Minister of Information in the PPP administration of the 19990s, praised Sam for his leadership. In the PPP government, unlike his successor Nagamootoo in the Coalition, Prime Minister Sam Hinds was part and parcel of the central decision-making process. The PPP government listened to his views and adopted his recommendations unlike Nagamootoo who was ignored by the PNC leadership during the Coalition’s tenure.
Sam was leader of a PPP government, a leadership that worked collectively to implement manifesto promises.
Africans’ standard of living improved the most among all ethnic groups under the PPP. Sam Hinds was part of that effort. Some of the major achievements of the PPP government included a drastic reduction in mortgage rates and restoration of the country’s economic viability after two consecutive decades of negative growth. The record would show that under the PPP, some 100,000 house lots were given out, with a substantial amount given to Africans. Many houses were constructed and distributed fairly among all groups, including Africans. In his last seven years in office, 2007-2014, Sam was part of the team that led the country to seven years of consecutive economic growth. The IMF report on Guyana said real GDP growth averaged 4.5 per cent annually for that period. Africans benefited from that growth just like other groups.
The entire country’s infrastructure benefited under the PPP; Linden received new roads after 1992. There are many more achievements of Africans with Sam’s leadership; no need to document all. No African leader has done more than Sam Hinds for Blacks post-1992. And the achievements were from a government that governed for all races. Sam Hinds’ governance was inclusive; it was for all races. That is why he is respected and adored by all races. His polling numbers have soared. He did not see things in terms of race, but humanity. Other leaders should emulate him.
Dr. Vishnu Bisram