PROFILE: Non-Guyanese who contribute to Guyana’s Development – by Francis Quamina Farrier

 by Francis Quamina Farrier

Dr. Fenton Sands

Individuals who were born in Guyana are full citizens by birth. There are many individuals who were not born in Guyana, but their hearts are for Guyana. They desire the genuine development of our Land of Many Waters. And they prove it by the sterling contributions which they make while here in Guyana, and sometimes even after they leave the country. There are thousands of examples, and in this article, we feature one of them.

The spotlight is on an individual who spent two years working in and contributing to Guyana’s continuing growth. He has a background which is very interesting and impressive. I was introduced to him a few weeks before his arrival in the country, while I was at a function in Washington DC, in the United States. “I’d like you to meet Dr. Fenton Sands. He’ll be going to Guyana soon.” a mutual friend instructed me. Dr. Fenton Sands and I went aside and spoke of his upcoming arrival in Guyana.       

Dr. Fenton Sands (at left) in conversation with American Ambassador Roland Bullen (at center) and President Bharrat Jagdeo (at right) – 2005

That was in June 2005. He arrived in the country the next month, July 2005. The post he held was that of Mission Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It could be said that Dr. Fenton Sands hit the ground running when he arrived as he got to work immediately on projects here in the Cooperative Republic. One such was The Guyana Trade and Investment Project (GTIP). That brought new opportunities to Guyana and placed the country to competitively offer higher value, differentiated goods and services in international markets, generating more wealth, especially for the working class. The key to that success was the use of a market-lead approach.

Dr. Fenton Sands was born in Liberia, West Africa, of American Parents. His father had gone to that African country which was established by the United States for freed African slaves in America to resettle after their emancipation. The elder Sands was an agricultural expert who worked in a number of countries in Africa, and so Fenton Sands grew up in Liberia, Nigeria and Sudan. He has already travelled to over twenty countries in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean. With that background and experience, Dr. Fenton Sands was a special gift to Guyana when he was posted here in 2005. He came to a country which he got to love dearly.  During his tour of duty here in Guyana, Dr. Fenton Sands photographed many scenes around the country, including the Interior. Many of those photographs have been compiled and published in a book of photographs entitled “Reflections of Guyana.”

The cover photo of that book is that of a dramatic sunset taken from the sea wall in Georgetown, looking to the north-west. At the lower left is the Pegasus Hotel and more to the center of the bottom of the photograph is the silhouetted images of two persons, which seem to imply, “Come with us into this book of photographs and enjoy a grand photographic journey around the Land of many waters. The first set of photographs is that of children from various backgrounds and in a range of settings including class-rooms in schools. The students are all in a happy mood.  The immediate following pages are filled with images of smiling adults. One with a special attraction is that of a mother with her infant son who Dr. Sands captured in such a way, as though the youngster is asking “Please get this right, Sir.” And for the viewer, one would want to predict that this little fellow may grow up and go into the legal profession. Maybe his parents already have a copy of this book. On the following page is a photo of a smiling steel pan man adjusting two tenor pans, while on the opposite page are images of the hands of palm weavers. It is obvious that Dr. Sands intended to highlight the talent in the hands of the palm weavers. On following pages there are those out-doors photos such as a jogger, as well as a group of joggers on the Georgetown seawall.


Dr. Fenton Sands at the Orinduk Falls on the Iring river at the Guyana/Brazil border. He has also been to the Kaieteur Falls.

The “Reflections of Guyana” by Fenton B. Sands, further includes some of the trees of Guyana. The intention, most likely, is to emphasize that our Homeland is certainly “The Greenland of Guyana.” There are also those photographs of the National Holidays; Diwali with beautifully lit-up buildings give extra brightness to that page. Scenes of Easter with kite-flying are also included in the book. So too, are photos of Guyana’s Republic holiday, MASHRAMANI, showing Guyanese of all backgrounds enjoying themselves together as “One People.” Photographs of First Class Cricket games also adorn some pages of this “Reflections of Guyana.”

Many of the photographs captured hinterland areas of Guyana way beyond the coastland. The beautiful Eddy Grant Island on the Essequibo River, is one of them. A portion of the unpaved road to Brazil, deep in the hinterland records the development which is yet to be done, and probably awaiting the announced financial returns from the country’s extraction of the massive reserves of Oil and Gas. There is a beautiful photo of a section of the Upper Essequibo River in the vicinity of the Pakaraima Mountain range. Included in this book of photographs by Dr. Fenton Sands, is an interesting aerial shot of the Kaieteur Falls which includes a wide expanse of green forests on both sides. All-in-all, this book of Photographs, Reflections of Guyana by Dr. Fenton B. Sands, could be a good Christmas gift especially for Guyanese in the Diaspora.

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