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Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Another Fine Mess

I am not going to spend a lot of time on the issue, but will raise it as a matter of political judgement. What possesses the leader of a political party to appoint someone who is viewed as the patron of his political party, who is the chairman of a major regional financial entity (CLICO Barbados), as the chairman of government-controlled/national broadcasting company? I asked myself that question at the time of the appointment. I was not convinced by any argument about dearth of talent or abundance of talent in the person of one person. Why ask someone to hold these two positions at the same time? This just seemed to be leading down the road of conflict of interest or just awkward situation sometime soon. If the person really is the BEST for the public sector job then let him/her take a leave of absence from the private sector post. If the private sector post is really THE job, then stick with it, and let someone else perform a worthy public service. Even if the person is Superman or Superwoman and has hi/her cape, last time I looked, Barbados has no phone booths.

Then, a major event occurs; it is by its nature very newsworthy. The Trinidad arm of the chairman's company hits the financial skids and needs government help. The opposition party leader in Barbados wants to make comments about the issue and is 'denied' airtime. Guess what? It does not smell right and only a dodo would not have seen the possibility of this doo-doo (see Nation report February 14, 2009). I have a feeling that despite the PM's entrance into the discussion there will not be any Valentine Day's kissing and making up.

Why would you as head of government and Minister of Information to boot, put your government and yourself up for this awkward situation waiting to happen, even if you were not looking to push a platform of transparency and good governance? Is it part of the arrogance of power? Is it a blind spot for a friend and associate? Clear thinking? Good decisions?

Good dancers do not need to hear the music to choose the right steps. Jumping up for the tango when the band is blaring in your ear is not how the 'first legend' of tango would do it. Funnily enough, I thought of this metaphor at random, then found that that legend was Carlos Estevez, who had the nickname "Petroleo" (that means petroleum in English), because he was as smooth as oil.

Oh, well, now someone is pouring oil on flames? What's a petrol economy got to do with it all, anyway? Who is going to be held over a barrel?

3 comments:

ESTEBAN AGOSTO REID said...

Arrogance!! Total arrogance!!

Carson C. Cadogan said...

I thought that Jamaica was a bigger mess than anthing that is happening in Barbados.

If you want to see conflict of interest, corruption at the highest level, look no further than Jamaica.

How is it that you can find the time to stick your nose into Barbados' internal affairs and not a word about corrupt Jamaica, the murder capital of the World?

I would have thought that a man of your interlect would offer your help to Jamaica who needs it more.

One recalls the situation where gunman fire bombed a house with old people and children and then stood guard outside and fired at all who tried to escape. I did not hear you at that time. Jamaica has more problems than Barbados offer your assistance to your fellow countrymen. David Thompson can do without your advice.

Dennis Jones said...

I wont take the view that it's about whose problems are worse and if those in Barbados are less than elsewhere then that means that there is nothing to say. That's too 'beggar my neighbour' and self-satisfied.

My comments are very liberally spread over a range of subjects so I wont worry about a bit of 'selective amnesia' from readers, but nor do I comment on every issue here or elsewhere. Sometimes enough voices are railing to not need another echo.

Nor do I ascribe to the view that only Bajans can comment on issues in Barbados: that's too elitist to my mind.

The PM can take advice from wherever and whoever he chooses, so I wont dictate to him. And I hope that he is always willing to consider that views expressed from many corners can be valid.