Fitzgerald Hinds: Not even aware…

Minister of Youth Development and National Services Fitzgerald Hinds receives backlash after posting this comment on facebook.

Fitzgerald Hinds“Not even aware that I was in his focus, on exiting the Massy Foodstore, I entered my vehicle. I settled in and observed a body up to my window. Closer observation revealed a perhaps 30-year old, healthy-looking, muscular man. I looked for the piper in him and could not find it. He beckoned me to talk to him. I rolled down my glass window and he delivered! “ Ah just asking for a lil $20 to buy something to eat!” I immediately reflected on a previous occasion when another young man asked me for “ah lil $100”. I have given financial and other assistance many times in greater quantity, but I refused them both! Ah doh like the idea of young, apparently fit men begging! And ah doh like it more, when they tell me hummuch dey want!”

“I reflected deeply on my new portfolio, took a deep breath; and drove away highly energized to do this critical work.”

Fitzgerald Hinds' now deleted post on facebook - August 26, 2020
Hinds’ post has since been deleted

11 thoughts on “Fitzgerald Hinds: Not even aware…”

  1. Maybe it’s me… but the minister may have a point.. and maybe we need to give him a little slack..

    It is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish (or something to that effect.)…

    Min Hinds said: “I reflected deeply on my new portfolio, took a deep breath; and drove away highly energized to do this critical work.”

    In the scheme of things.. Tough Love..

    It’s really shameful seeing young healthy bodies hold the intersection and show up from 6-6, everyday…. in the rain.. in the heat.. cap in hand..

  2. Communication is a hell of a thing, and you have to give careful thought to what you say and the various meanings that can be teased out of it. The optics were not good. But there is a point Hinds is making that bears taking into consideration. The stereotype of young black men from particular areas in T&T is that of them begging, thieving, or scrounging for food. Hinds has been given a Ministry that seeks to address the problem of young people (not only black youth by the way) the Ministry of Youth Development and National Service. The very issue of a black youth begging like that person he described is one of the things he has to address. Here are my ideas on that. We are living in a capitalist world, business is the key to jobs and financial security. In the world where the state was the main economic actor, employment in the state sector would have been a solution. We are no longer in that world, the events of 1986 in T&T and after have given us a neoliberal world where the state is merely a facilitator of economic activity and the private sector the main engine of economic activity. What the neoliberalism has resulted in is the propagation and intensification of inequality. There are movements around the world to reform and replace the economics of neoliberalism, Thomas Piketty, for example, has written a couple of influential books on the topic. More about that later, but be that as it may, we have to deal with the world as it is. We are in a world where business is the engine of employment. Black people in T&T have a huge market to ply their products. In T&T blacks often have to buy their goods from businesses that are overtly racists as we have learned. Entrepreneurial development is the key. Let black youth learn about the skills that will enable them to start up, run and expand their businesses. They have to learn about a business plan, about marketing, about accounting, etc. These things are taught in schools but many black youths from these areas are not taking advantage of the education system. Have an Entrepreneurial Development Program. Getting loans from the banks are another problem. Banks have to be careful when they lend money to budding entrepreneurs and rightly so. There is NEDCO but it needs to be augmented. And the budding entrepreneurs have to prove themselves. It cannot be a path to easy money that is scammed. Could we not train a group of people in the skills necessary to produce, market and supply peanut punch for example? Black business is the key to alleviating black poverty. Here is another example; we have three daily newspapers in T&T and the only black voices that are heard are sell outs and HNs. We need a black owned newspaper. It is a huge undertaking I know, but there are many capable black journalists, black managers and black salesmen. Enabling black business is the key to transforming T&T with regard to black poverty. And this is not to say that black young people are the only ones who should benefit from this entrepreneurial development. Young people from all races can benefit from it. Entrepreneurial development, let’s look at it.

  3. Hinds: ‘I’m one of most generous people in the world’
    The original post was widely criticised and described by many, even from his own supporters as, insensitive, tone-deaf and out-of-touch, given the economic situation affecting the country.

    Hinds defends decision not to give ‘beggar’ $20
    Describing himself as one of the most generous people in the world, Hinds said, “So that is just really what was operating in my mind but the context of this was I had just come out of the supermarket and interestingly enough I had gone in there to buy food and God is my witness, for someone who needed it.”

    UNC youth arm chides Hinds for ‘piper’ post
    “The country’s unemployment rate continues to rise and if Mr Minister and his government had done a better job of creating more and better opportunities for the citizenry this may not be the reality … This latest statement by the Honourable MP is very irresponsible, reckless, lacks remorse and lacks empathy. Do better, sir! Either you step up or step-down Mr Minister!”

    1. Giving out $20 bills to the poor, or fridges and mattresses to constituents may be a nice PRO stunt but it doesn’t deal with the problem of inequality and poverty. What is needed are policy prescriptions to address that problem. The UNC campaigned on one main issue it seemed – that people in the East-West Corridor have not fared well in Trinidad and something must be done if they are not to end up eating grass. Hundreds of thousands of UNC supporters voted for that. The PNM has therefore a clear cut direction from those UNC supporters and PNM supporters too (although they may have been more inclined to think in terms of national development). Ensure that more is done for the East-West Corridor, ensure that more is done for PNM constituencies, invest more into them, enabling business in these areas is one such possibility as I commented previously, but we must listen to the UNC and the hundred of thousand of their supporters who, not wanting PNM people to eat grass, demanded that more should be done for PNM constituencies. I concur with that (although I still have this thing about national development). We must listen to the UNC, from the mouths of the UNC to the government of T&T – do more for PNM constituencies.

  4. Noble: How Hinds’ suffocating arrogance and Kamla’s noisy Senators are ‘disses’ to the nation
    “[Fitzgerald Hinds’ social media] post confirms the suffocating arrogance that this son of a former dockworker possesses and shows how one, having ascended, can mindlessly kick down the proverbial ladder of social mobility.
    “[…] The job of [Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s] new Senators is to demonstrate this ability to roar. Her choices are a slap in the faces of the proverbial ‘swing voters’—but this is not the immediate concern. To be perceived as being ‘bad’, the bile from dark corners is transferred into what should be a place of sober reflection and reason…”
    Columnist Noble Philip muses over Minister Fitzgerald Hinds’ ‘staggering self-disclosure’ and UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s questionable choice of senators

  5. Hinds is a multi millionaire living in a $14 million mansion. $20 would by no means empty his bank account. Albert Gomes was a politician. He used to have along line up of people who needed some money to get by. It did not make him poor by any means.

  6. What is a telling self-disclosure is that there are those in this society that think alleviating poverty is a matter of giving those who are begging a “lil twenty dollars”. Charity is a great thing, but in our case it seems to be just the way we can assuage our conscience, make us feel good and continue on our way thinking how fine and benevolent we are. It does not alleviate the problem of poverty however, for every person we give a lil twenty dollars, there are many more needing much more than a twenty dollars. To alleviate poverty we need policy prescriptions, and Hinds is more correct in his assessment that seeing healthy, young men being reduced to begging is a problem and what we need to do is to look to the reasons for this problem and seek real, sustainable solutions. The problem is the rising inequality that is has become global in its reach. Global inequality has given rise to a new class of people – the precariat. We have had also for some time, an underclass living mainly in areas that are socially stigmatized. I mentioned previously the work of Thomas Piketty who has published two important books on the subject of inequality. And speaking not as a member of any political party, but as an objective observer, we should take a look at Piketty’s recommendations as it pertains to alleviating inequality and poverty. Piketty’s two works are: 1). Capital in the Twenty First Century and 2). Capitalism and Ideology.
    In the first book, Piketty shows the great concentration of wealth in a few people and the attendant inequality that follows. According to Oxfam, the world’s richest 1% has more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people and the super rich avoid as much as 30% of their tax liability. Here in T&T we talk about giving 20 dollars to a beggar but we don’t want to pay any taxes on our huge mansions or skillfully avoid paying taxes on our huge incomes, taxes that can be used for social services. Piketty proposes a “global system of progressive wealth taxes” to help reduce inequality. In other words, he proposes “Tax the rich” to reduce inequality and poverty. That is not going to be popular here of course, we would much prefer to give a little 20 dollars to the poor, which makes us feel good but it does nothing to alleviate poverty.
    Piketty’s second book is “Capitalism and Ideology” published in 2019. In it he goes further to analyze the causes of inequality and poverty. Paul Krugman, a Nobel Laureate in economics, says this of the book, “Piketty, however, sees inequality as a social phenomenon, driven by human institutions. Institutional change, in turn, reflects the ideology that dominates society: “Inequality is neither economic nor technological; it is ideological and political.” We have to ask ourselves, what is the ideology that drives inequality in T&T? Maybe that would give us a hint on how we can really address the problem of inequality and poverty in T&T

  7. Bernie Sanders has been touted as a socialist, Elizabeth Warren calling for a wealth tax from the super rich and Biden targeted in changing the suburbs makeup. POTUS; Trump promotes economic inequality to heights never seen before especially so in this pandemic season. Point: political leaders in T&T should spell out at the onset what percentage of GDP should be invested in helping non-achievers at secondary and tertiary levels of education in developing skill sets so that they can sustain life and to dispel the current tribal mindset of going back to the land and transform such as positively impacting and honorable. PROMOTE agriculture policies (the whole gamut growing, processing etc.,) in removing strong healthy beggars and homelessness off the streets and back to mother land. Focus now on local markets before moving out to regional and export markets. Make cane land productive once more rather than honing on ownerships – breeding wanton greed and strife.

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