A COMMENT which is seemingly inconsistent with the social construct of Guyana, a pluralist society, has landed senior Working People’s Alliance (WPA) member Dr. David Hinds in hot water, with political scientist, Freddie Kissoon even questioning whether the issue will fall under the radar of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) for further scrutiny.
In a video circulating on Facebook, Hinds appears to be inciting racial division by calling on a section of the population to undermine another.
The WPA member, who, through his party, attempts to portray himself as a vibrant “Guyanese leader”, could be heard saying: “Undermine the enablers of the government, the businesses; dem does come with big truckload… Dem from Black Bush, but dem come ah Plaisance Market fuh sell; dem ain’t from here.”
He further extended his call for “the enablers” of the government to be undermined, saying: “We cannot go to Mon Repos Market and buy black pudding.”
Black pudding, as said by many persons, is a delicacy enjoyed by Guyanese of all walks of life.
This thought, however, reportedly evaded the mind of Dr. Hinds, as he sought to use the dish and the sale of it to support his cause.
The WPA member said: “Me bin ah Better Hope Market/Mon Repos Market a couple years ago, and me see a crowd. Me say eh eh, what a crowd deh… they say is a lady selling black pudding; me is a black pudding man, me go up and say eh eh this black pudding ga fuh sweet.
When me go, is not a black lady selling the black pudding; well, I almost fall down dead. You left Plaisance, BV, Buxton fa go Mon Repos Market fuh buy black pudding.”
WHAT IS WRONG?
Asking the question which many persons on social media have asked, Kissoon said: “What is wrong with an Indian woman selling black pudding?
“When my mother was pregnant with me, she sold wood for the coal-pot for a living, and my sister, Gwendolyn, would cook and sell black pudding next to her on Bent Street, Wortmanville, a south Georgetown ward that was 99 per cent populated by African Guyanese,” Kissoon related.
He further questioned: “What is wrong with Black Bush farmers sending their stuff to Plaisance so that Plaisance vendors could sell East Coast residents vegetables, ‘greens’ and fruits at a cheap price?”
Insinuating that Dr. Hinds’ comments were racially divisive, Kissoon asked: “Will the Ethnic Relations Commission indict Hinds?”
He added: “The tape is there to be viewed; it was pure racial incitement. Hinds lives in the US, but he could still be indicted, and when he comes to Guyana, he could be arrested.”
Meanwhile, in responding to accusations of a similar nature, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr., sought to clear the air on the matter by saying: “The APNU and their media outlet tried to spin that I said that there are no role models in the black community, or that there is a lack of role models in the Black community. I never said that. Of course, there are many Afro-Guyanese role models, and, in this context, a role model is a law-abiding, productive member of society who carriers himself or herself in a respectable way.”
THOUSANDS OF ROLE MODELS
He went on to say that there are thousands of Afro-Guyanese professionals like doctors, judges, lawyers, engineers, and men and women in the disciplined and public services, who are role models.
Referring to his remarks which sparked the accusations, Ramson said he was merely expressing how sad it was to see “Black leaders” attack Statement Investment Inc., a company owned by three Afro-Guyanese, for winning a contract to build a primary school in Region 10.
“Speaking as a political leader, I know what I saw as a child growing up with my dad as a lawyer, and how that helped shape my life. And there should be lots of examples of success in the Black community. That does not mean I said that there are no role models, or a lack of role models in the Black Community.
“I said there should be lots of examples of success in the Black community; the more that there are and the more that are seen of different types of success, the better. I know how it can inspire young people,” the minister related.
While the rhetoric from the Coalition has been reportedly critical of certain Afro-Guyanese who are excelling, Ramson said the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government has been creating opportunities for all persons through housing, infrastructure development, among other things.
President Dr. Irfaan Ali had also committed from the onset to create a system which would benefit every Guyanese.
Specifically on race, during his inaugural address to Parliament, President Ali had announced the formation of a ‘One Guyana Commission’ which will be tasked with fostering love for country, celebrating the ‘oneness’ enunciated in the national motto.
This, he explained, is part of the government’s efforts to put an end to the division caused by race and politics and to create a path towards building a single Guyanese identity.