– Dr. Hinds
By: Kiana Wilburg
The role that the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) is being allowed to play in the coalition administration is limited and Government is taking the party for granted.
That’s the frank assessment of political activist Dr. David Hinds.
“We have one Minister, one Presidential Advisor and Chairs of Boards of two state institutions, NICIL and GuySuCo,” Dr. Hinds told Kaieteur News.
“In addition, Dr. Clive Thomas heads the State Asset Recovery Unit (SARU). I think in each of those institutions, despite challenges, our representatives have been trying to bring to bear WPA’s larger praxis of fairness, justice for the poor and the powerless and transparency.”
Speaking of the performance of Professor Thomas thus far, Dr. Hinds commented that his presence in policy-making at the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has finally brought some common sense to the sugar industry.
Despite some problems at the level of implementation, he contended that for the first time, the nation has witnessed a willingness from the leaders of the day to break out of the political stranglehold in which the sugar industry has been mired. He emphasized that clearly, Thomas’ leadership has made a difference in the larger vision for sugar.
On the issue of State asset recovery, Dr. Hinds said that the SARU CEO has also led the way.
“I think he has singlehandedly placed the issue on the front burner and put us on the brink of a major breakthrough in that area of government’s fight against public corruption,” said the University Professor.
In the area of education, the political activist said that the Minister, Dr. Rupert Roopnarine has begun to move the education praxis in a more democratic direction whereby more emphasis is placed on the children at the bottom of the social ladder. He noted that the reintroduction of music into the schools is another way of ensuring that education is released from the narrow confines it had reached.
But Dr. Hinds still feels that the WPA faces real challenges.
“We are part of a coalition within a larger coalition, and given our lack of proximity to core decision making, our influence on the vision and direction of the government as a whole is muted. We also suffer from a simplistic view within the belly of the two bigger partners that since we did not ‘bring votes’ we should not be an influential player. That is a reality that we have no control over.”
Despite some positive movement in recent years, the political activist said that the deep suspicion between the PNC and the WPA still exists.
In this regard, he said, “There are PNC people who have never forgiven us for contributing to the demise of the previous PNC government, while there are many WPA people who have not forgiven the PNC government for orchestrating the assassination of Walter Rodney.”
Dr. Hinds also stated that this thinking has influenced the leadership of the government to relate to the WPA as individuals rather than as a party. Except for the cabinet where the WPA has one voice, Dr. Hinds said that there is no other medium through which the WPA, as a party, can influence overall decision making.
“We have been taken for granted largely because our leadership has taken a conciliatory attitude to the government, whereby in the interest of unity, we have tempered our instinct to be more critical of government’s shortcomings. We have come under a lot of pressure from members and supporters for that approach, which is seen as a departure from our core praxis.”
Towards this end, the Executive Member of the WPA said that the party is planning a general members meeting to address this and other burning issues, including morale among some of the members who have been shut out from participation in the government.
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