Cricket a key factor in promoting social cohesion – Dr Hinds

With much emphasis being place on the building of social cohesion among the multicultural and multiethnic Guyanese populace, Political Commentator, Dr David Hinds believes cricket can single-handedly unite the people of this diverse country as it once did in the past.

He was at the time speaking in a panel discussion during the taping of ‘The Factor’ programme aired on Television Guyana (TVG). The topic was based on how culture can impact social cohesion among Guyanese.

During the discussions with former Culture, Youth and Sport Minister, Dr Frank Anthony and Leader for ROAR, Ravi Dev, Dr Hinds pointed out that as a young boy growing up in an African-Guyanese community, cricketers such as Rohan Kanhai and Shivnarine Chanderpaul – both of whom are East Indian – were not seen as East Indians symbols but as a symbol of hope for Guyanese.

He reasoned that these single moments, when looked back on, are what governments should harness to truly achieve social cohesion.

“As a policymaker, I would put so much resources into developing cricket because it is one of the few areas that we can have social cohesion inside of Guyana and… across the Caribbean,” the Alliance For Change (AFC) Executive Member posited.

Dr Hinds was at the time commenting on the fact that in all its years of independence, Guyana is yet to view outside of itself and as part of the West Indian culture. This, he said, is where Guyana most relates to and finds a uniqueness about its culture.

It was in light of this that he believes cricket is that key factor to promote social cohesion in Guyana. He stated that when Kanhai and Chanderpaul were playing cricket, they were expressing a ‘West Indianess’ – something which has proven to bind not only Guyanese but Caribbean people.

“One of the things about our independence is that we are yet to define in a really serious way who we are as a Guyanese and as a West Indian people. I keep saying West Indian because part of it is that we exist not only as Guyana,” he remarked.

Moreover, the political commentator is of the view that investments in activities such as cricket augur well for the Guyanese society, especially since society is plagued with crime and drifting from its young people.

“I can tell you that if we can engage (young people’s) energies – their creative energies – in a very serious way, that becomes a big deterrence to young people going adrift.

So I think, we are badly in need of a cultural policy because our economics will go nowhere, our politics will go nowhere until people’s humanity are expressed,” he stated.

According to Dr Hinds, in order to draft such a policy, there needs to be widespread consultation. He said a cultural commission of some sort needs to be established with cultural ambassadors, and not necessarily politicians, who will go into communities and engage the people about what they would like to see in a national cultural policy and how they would like to see it constructed.