Dr. Sands was born and raised in Africa by parents who were born and raised in Harlem, New York. Their parents in turn, and other family members came from the Caribbean – Trinidad, Barbados, and the Bahamas. Dr. Sands’ father was an international agricultural expert and his family (Dr. Sands, his mother, and two sisters) followed him where ever he worked. As a result, the photographer grew up in countries like Liberia, Nigeria, and Sudan and went to high school in both Egypt and Switzerland.
Dr. Sands then followed his father's footsteps and became an economic development specialist, raising two boys (Bemani and Jahmal) with his wife Cynthia overseas, mainly in Africa. Dr. Sands came to Guyana as the USAID Mission Director in 2005. After almost 3 years in the country and after a 30-year career in development, Dr. Sands retired from the foreign service. However, he is currently an economic policy adviser for USAID in Ghana.
I come from a Caribbean heritage and grew up being proud of that. I always wanted to see that part of the world, especially after spending my early years in several African countries and felt the links between Africa and Caribbean culture. When I finally worked and lived in Guyana, I could easily trace the cultural roots of many things and along with unique aspects of the Caribbean, this inspired me to capture the spirit of it all through photography. In addition, my photographs on canvas portray the beauty of the Caribbean, especially Guyana.