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From politics to the pews

Published:Sunday | December 9, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Former Portmore Mayor Keith Hinds returns to the Lord after loss at the polls

The Keith Hinds story: Former Portmore Mayor returns to the Lord after loss at the polls

Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter

Portmore's former Mayor Keith Hinds has retired from politics and has returned to the pews of his spiritual birthplace and home at Pentecostal Tabernacle located in the country's capital.

The former mayor returned to the fold in March this year when he was baptised with the Holy Ghost afresh and spoke in tongues as the Holy Spirit gave utterance. Eight months later, the one-time politician was given the right-hand of fellowship, which officially confirms him as a parishioner of the Wildman Street-based church in central Kingston.

"It has been a long time in coming. It's not something that is just an overnight move really, but something that I was longing to do and had many a discussion with my wife on the matter and I just felt at the time that it was so important that I just decided to throw myself into that direction," he said.

"What I've done now is really nothing strange. I've just come home," Hinds added.

When The Sunday Gleaner visited Hinds' office at the Caribbean Integrated Pest Management Services in Portmore, St Catherine, his Bible was open on his desk. There was also a professional Olympus camera at one end of the business-like desk. Hinds later confessed that he was an avid fan of photography.

Second portmore mayor

What most people know about Hinds is that he is the sunshine city's second mayor and a political figure aligned to the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). What they did not know is that Hinds is a Bible- school graduate.

"I was baptised at Pentecostal Tabernacle in 1977 and filled with the Holy Ghost there and actually went to the Caribbean Bible Institute. When I left the church, I left there as a young evangelist. I don't know if I've gone back as an old one," he said with a chuckle.

Hinds told The Sunday Gleaner that he was willing and ready to start preaching again, but said he would not go unless he is sanctioned and sent by his pastor - John-Mark Bartlett.

Asked if he still considered himself a politician, an introspective Hinds said: "At this point in time, no. I am still a member of the Jamaica Labour Party because I do think it is the party best suited to govern the country and I think every person in Jamaica should make a choice one way or the other because we do have to govern the country."

He continued: "But, as it relates to representational politics, I don't think I will be pursuing that as a career anymore ... . I can't consider myself trying to glory in Keith Hinds, which is basically when you put yourself out there. What you find is that there is a vast urge on most persons part to obtain state power so they will tell lies to obtain it, they will manipulate people's minds to obtain state power and just getting that state power we can't even fulfil what it is that we have told."

The former mayor was cautious, but confessed that he was guilty of twisting the truth and manipulating the electorate as a politician.

"Any person that is in sin will always commit sin and if you say that you have not committed sin then you are a liar. And, that is why when you accept the Lord Jesus as we do in Pentecost, it is difficult for you to keep yourself in (that) position," said Hinds.

He said he believes God has a hand in Jamaica's affairs and urged his former colleagues to stand still and take notice.

"I am going to warn my former colleagues on both sides that they need to find themselves at the foot of the cross. Some of them when they quote Scriptures you would think you are listening to Michael the angel himself, but their actions immediately after they finish quoting the Scriptures sometimes leaves much to be desired and I am saying to them, repent and I will happily quote Acts chapter 2 verse 38 as a Scripture that they should follow to the letter and do something about their lives."

He added: "I am very much as guilty as them but when I turned around I realised that something was absolutely wrong in what we are doing because when you are able to skilfully use words and manipulate them and have persons jumping up and saying 'yeah' it feels good but are you speaking the truth and are you being honest? It is not a shame if you weren't speaking the truth to confess that you weren't speaking the truth."

Said Hinds: "I am certain that I have done some wrong things and I want to take this opportunity to say to persons that if I have offended any of them in any way, I will sincerely here and now, apologise to them ... . I might not see them individually but if they read the story I want them to sincerely know that I am sorry," said Hinds.

Pursuing master's

Preaching a doctrine of holiness which often runs counter to the cut and thrust of local politicking, Hinds said he was persuaded that politics was not the only platform that a well-thinking person can use to offer service above self to his country. Hinds also revealed that he is pursuing a master's degree in public administration and would be willing to offer himself as a servant in the civil service if the opportunity came knocking.

Some observers believe Hinds was bitter and venomous towards the people of Portmore after he lost the mayoral contest against George Lee.

But Hinds said his greatest hurt was not being voted out of office - because that was the voice of the people exercising their franchise - but the treatment meted out to him at the swearing-in ceremony.

However, the retired politician, who believes there was divine providence in his defeat at the polls, said he has forgiven those who offended him.

"Not only have I forgiven, I will say to them thank you very much you are all going in the will of God. So, I will tell them many, many thanks for chasing me out of that office because if they had not done so, maybe I would still be trying to feel that I should be doing something else other than what I am doing. I am most grateful. My mind is settled and I am at great peace."