37th death anniversary

Political commentator and executive member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Dr David Hinds, on Monday issued a call for Government to put aside partisan differences and honour the memory of the late political leader, social activist and scholar, Dr Walter Anthony Rodney, as a true Guyanese patriot.

Saying he understands Government’s reluctance to touch the recommendations contained in the controversial Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry (CoI), Dr Hinds asked, “Are we doomed to be forever imprisoned by partisan instincts?”


Dr David Hinds

He elaborated: “How can we boast of a unity Government that includes Rodney’s party and comrades, yet the very Government continues to marginalize him in such blatant ways? The Government has not seen it fit to implement the very non-partisan recommendations of the CoI, some of which its constituents have in the past called for,” Dr Hinds said.

Questioning the whereabouts of the Rodneyite ideas in the praxis of the Government, Hinds said there was never a more enlightened activist of “what we now call social cohesion” than Walter Rodney. Yet our Government publishes a Strategic Plan on Social Cohesion without a single integration of his ideas or those with which he had been associated. “We must do better than that,” Hinds appealed.


Dr Walter Anthony Rodney

He said Government has a historic duty to be a Government of all Guyanese.

“There can be no social cohesion and good governance outside of constitutional reform that targets excessive presidential powers, the sharing of executive power, and the return of proper local democracy,” Hinds said.

According to Hinds, Government must find a way to witness more for the poor. He said Government has to find space for investment in the Guyanese people even as it navigates the dictates of the IMF regime. According to him, the coming of the oil economy will not be automatic salvation for the poor, as experience has shown that oil wealth, like other forms of wealth, ends up benefiting the privileged.

He said Walter Rodney’s critique of the politics and economics of underdevelopment is still relevant today, and should be utilized as a rallying point of departure for those willing to confront neo-liberalism.

Controversy

Rodney was killed on June 13, 1980, when a communication device he had earlier collected exploded in his lap while he sat in his brother’s car some distance away from the Camp Street Prison in Georgetown. The previous People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government had convened a CoI back in 2014 to determine the circumstances that led to his death, but that investigation was cut short when the Government changed in 2015.