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Predictable Wrath of Leaders - Executive Fire

Leadership MattersIt was to be seen that in every sphere of human endeavor, and particularly, in the administration of public affairs, there has been“...erratic and/or irresponsible behavior by a small minority of public officials.”

”Not infrequently, individuals of prominence, influence, and positional power had escaped consequential punishments. In some instances, victimizing punishment had been visited upon those perceived as guilty of less graver impropriety. These had provoked reactions in which the law abiding people had seen as “...incivility and treachery.” These had incensed feelings of public disgust.” Similarly, some behaviors were known to have brought “...Woe and Wrath” upon individuals, subjecting them to “...humiliation and degradation.”

MINISTERIAL RESPONSIBILITIES

Evidence, suggested that mere months in office, and with specially assigned “...Ministerial Responsibilities,” an identifiable few had shown that they had achieved their aspirational goals under pretext of serving the people. Individuals whom the electorate had given a mandate and entrusted with the administration of public affairs,” shall know that these were contingent upon their promises to discharge their “...Duties faithfully and diligently and in a responsible manner.” They shall also know that these come with consequences. Thus, in governance, while public officials were usually assessed by their “...performance,” to a watchful citizenry, their performances may have been often seen as overshadowed by conduct bordering “...Misbehavior in Public Office.”


GOOD GOVERNANCE

People of every strata of society, have always loathed offensive conduct and/or behavior bordering treachery by “...elected and/or appointed public officials.” Thus, people everywhere, have spared no opportunity in rebuffing that which may have been seen as “...inappropriate and/or objectionable.” Within regional borders, it may have been seen that many individuals were elected to public office with promises and/or assurances in “...serving the public and national good.” While speaking glibly to “...Good Governance,” many had pledged to adhere to societal values, organizational precepts and obedience to the Rule of Law. Though experience has shown that these principles were observed more in the breach than in practice, this was to be reflected through “...conduct and/or actions” that were to reflect (i) “...Integrity in Public Life; (ii) ...Transparency and (iii) Accountability.”

FEARLESS AND FORMIDABLE

Since the rule of former Dominican Prime Minister Dame Eugenia Charles” [1980-1995], “...Kamla Persad-Bissessar, one of two currently sitting females has ranked highly among the region’s male-dominated leadership. She has demonstrated “...Strong and Decisive Leadership.” She had shown these in addressing “...Ministerial Errancy” through crude, disrespectful and/or disorderly behavior by her male-counterparts, internally and regionally.” She has expressed high ideals and has set a disciplinary bar for “...responsible behavior among her Cabinet Ministers.” In spite of the conventionally feminine quality, she has become one of the region’s most “...Fearless and Formidable” female Prime Ministers, commanding respect of those who may have not yet stepped out of line. Those who have, will have experienced her “...Executive Wrath.”

WHEN LEADERSHIP MATTERS

While regional Prime Ministers may have coined the phrase“...Leadership Matters,” and may have used it “...rhetorically and repetitively as a fad,” Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had shown, not just what, but how Leadership mattered. In a male-dominated coalition administration, the Trinidad and Tobago Prime Ministerhad demonstrated “...extraordinary strong and decisive leadership.” Individually and collectively, those with ministerial responsibilities shall not only give satisfactory account of their stewardship, but also their “...behavior.” This was toreflect the values advocated by the institution’s leadership, while satisfying the electorate and meeting public expectations.

INTEGRITY IN PUBLIC LIFE

Showing that neither “...nepotism nor cronyism,” has any business in governance, moreover, in her administration, when the history of her “...Prime Ministerial Tenure” would have been documented, the records may reflect that “...since 2010, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had sacked twelve (12) Cabinet Ministers.” The un-comprising Prime Minister had vowed that her administration will “...Maintain high ideals upon which we were elected.” Few of her regional male-counterparts could boast of their uncompromised stance in maintaining “...Integrity in Public Life.” The most recent casualties of her “...Executive Power,” had been an alleged “...Disorderly Social Development Minister Dr. Glenn Ramadharsingh and an alleged “...Abusive Tourism Minister Chandresh Sharma.” The former, said to have been highly inebriated in flight, apparently attempted to rescue a female Flight attendant from “...imaginary swarming African Bees and reportedly grabbed that which none had attacked.” Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar had assured the electorate and more particularly, the people of Trinidad and Tobago, that “...My value-based leadership will never be compromised” [Kaieteur News: April 1, 2014].

POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY

Media reports have further quoted her as saying “...Each member of my administration must be mindful that we are held to different, higher standards; ...even by those who are our most bitter critics; ...There is no privilege escape; ...No allowance for arrogance; ...No room for violation of mutual respect and ...No forgiveness for indiscretion.” She continued “...There must be no compromise on integrity; ...No allowance for arrogance; ...No sacrifice of values on the altar of Political Expediency” [Kaieteur News]. Speaking to leadership, she had made it abundantly clear that “...My leadership isn’t formed in the mould of ‘Loud and angry politicians’ who feel that shouting and attacking everything is the best way to be heard” [Kaieteur News; March 30, 2014]. Though “...fire shall be fought with fire and steel with steel with steel,” lessons might still be learned by “...Education Minister Dr. Jacqui Quinn Leandro; ...Agriculture Minister Hilson ‘Brother B’ Baptiste; ...Senators Lennox Weston and Joanne Massiah.”

COMMANDING POSTURE

 She had exhibited a steely resolve that those in her Cabinet, behaviorally and administratively, shall at all material times, “...reflect the people’s will; ...electoral mandate and sacred trust.” In this connection, no other considerations shall affect her administration’s determination that responsible ministerial behavior and integrity in public life,shall prevail among ministers of government.For instance, “...official conduct,” was to be inextricably linked to “...private affairs.” Displaying a“...Commanding Posture; ...a sense of purposefulness; ...resolute in intent and unambiguous in her speeches,” the Prime Minister had shown both “...firmness in her decisions and decisiveness in her actions.” Thus, ministerial conduct, “...officially and privately,” was to appear, and be perceived by the public as “...unsullied and as example to all.”


KAMLA’S FIRE

Exhibiting leadership qualities, when “...Planning Minister Senator Mary King reportedly “...awarded a contract for $100, 000” to develop a government website, without tender “...to a company traced to her husband,” instantaneously, the intensity of heat generated by “...Kamla’s Fire, melted her tenure [May 10, 2011]. Likened to many other Cabinet colleagues, following a “...FIFA Scandal,” former National Security Minister Jack Warner, also succumbed to Kamla’s Executive Fire” [June 2012-April 2013]. Further, when “ ...Justice Minister Herbert Volney,” reportedly “ ...misrepresented to Cabinet the opinion of the Chief Justice on a controversial Section 34 amendment,” he too had perished in “ ...Kamla’s Fire.” The amendment to the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act; No.20 of 201,” sought to “...allow criminals awaiting trial for over 10 years to walk free.”

CONTRACT RIGING

The contentious Bill was said to have been so designed that contractors who allegedly defrauded the government of TT$I billion dollars through “...fraudulent use of bonds and ...rigging of contracts for various construction packages for the Piarco Airport project” [Senior Counsel: DPP: Roger Gaspard: T&T News Blog: September 16, 2012]. No comparison may be made to that which may have been seen as bringing about the demise of Senator Winston Williams Jr [November 1, 2013]. A fact finding committee had reportedly discovered that “...monies were over-paid” for “...Contractual work either half done or not done at all.”

COMPLEX OF SUPERIORITY

Speaking to individuals who had aspired to public office, and particularly those appointed in capacity to “...assist substantive holders of public office,” the records may reflect that for various reasons, such as “...developing public policies; ...independent use of initiative; ...attitudinal displaying that had aroused and/or incensed feelings of antipathy, thereby signaling a “...Complex of Superiorityhave been fraught with difficulties. Within some groupings, many, seen as short on intellect, have often been considered “...lesser mortals.” Invariably, they had found themselves at variance with those they were appointed to assist and were marginalized. Therecords may never show that some complexes were often driven by “...egoism and arrogance” or stymied by inhibitions”that have resulted in “...personality conflicts, antagonism and animosity.”

SECURITY OF TENURE

It was the knowledge that individuals and/or “...Electoral Rejects” appointed to “...Ministerial and/or the Senatorial positions,” had found themselves standing on shaky ground. Thus, irrespective of party ranking, status or professional competencies, no member enjoys “...Security of Tenure.” Therefore, none appointed to “...Ministerial, Senatorial or organizational positions” shall consider him/herself “...indispensable or untouchable.” Most actions and/or reactions, however, might be dependent upon considerations of “...Expediency or Necessity.”  Thus, it is indisputable that those who lead and have “...Empowered others,” also possess a “...Power to Devour.” Attesting to these assertions might be seen from the experiences of “...Senator Winston Williams Jr” [2009-2013].

SUSTAINING PUBLIC TRUST

Many elected to public office, had been accused of “...Fouling their own nests.” This may have been evident by the approach of Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persaud-Bissessar, who had initiated decisive action against those she had assigned “ ...ministerial responsibilities. Such actions were deemed important in “...Sustaining Public Trust and Confidence.” While evidence may have suggested that Senator Winston Williams Jr. may have knowingly or unknowingly, “...Fouled his nest,” he had escaped unscathed. Firstly, elected to the House of Representative,” troubled by discontent, his constituents rejected a second term bid for re-election [2009]. Then gratuitously assigned “...junior ministerial responsibilities,” he was stripped bare of the “...Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry”[November 1,2013].

STRAYED SHEEP

When Prime Minister Dr. Baldwin Spencer intervened, he may have followed the moral in the hymn “...There were Ninety and Nine that were safely lay.” He was obviously aware that one of his Junior Ministers had wandered “...Far away: ...And although the road be rough and steep; ...I go to the desert to find my sheep.” He went “...On the hills far away” [Elizabeth Clephane: 1868], retrieved the “...Strayed Sheep” and took the decision in keeping him in the fold, but under his immediate ministerial watch. He had pitied his “...simplicity, youthful exuberance and docility, availing him of a “...second chance at redemption.” Consequently, even as public administrators appeared to have faltered, Senator Winston Williams may have found solace in singing “...Now the day is over; ...Night is drawing nigh; ...Comfort those who suffer; ...Watching late in pain; ...Those who plan some evil; ...From their sin refrain” [Sabine Baring-Gould: February 16, 1867]. Though for very different reasons, likened to Jesus Christ, Senator Williams may have been forced to carry a “...Cross of Tribulations.”

TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

The Committee had comprised persons who were clearly not short on “...scruples, intellect and integrity.” However, except for the “...technical expertise” provided by contractor Nicholas ‘Nick’ Hadeed, in “ ...surveying, quantifying and/or assessing quality and value of work done,” the Report had clearly failed to demonstrate “...transparency and accountability.” Additionally, in the eyes of the public, it had failed to do justice to the“...intellect and understanding and fiduciary responsibilities of the Accountant General.” Critics saw the apparent administrative negligence of the Accountant General and Director of Audit as blessings in disguise to the “...beleaguered Senator.”

FORTRIGHTLY HONEST

Commenting on a “...Deal or No Deal,” following the “...Aborted No Confidence Vote” that was to be tabled by then Opposition Leader Honourable Lester Bird, who reportedly became “...indisposed,” freelance journalist and contributor to this news portal, Ian ‘Magic’ Hughes intimated that some “...EC$46M dollars had been set aside for contractors for building sidewalks, and fencing; ...$23M of which had already been spent” [Caribarena: June 11, 2012]. Unintentionally, Senator Winston Williams Jr. may have confounded Finance Minister Harold Lovell with being “...Forthrightly Honest.” He had confirmed that which the “...Unofficial Fact Finders” had contended- “...Over-Spending of public monies.” It may also have been considered “...Youthful Witlessness,” electing to be guest in a “...Pit of Venomous Snakes” after he had clearly saved him from the humiliation of “...Public Inquisition over his handling of Public Finances.”


RESPONSIBILITY OF ACCOUNTANT GENERAL

This sum was reportedly expended on “...fence erection and/or construction of bathroom facilities at sports complexes across the nation.” Equally as much as substantive Minister Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro may have been more circumspect over the spending, so too may have been the vigilance of the “...Accountant General,” who had responsibility for public expenditure. He/she had responsibility for determining “...when and what payments were to be made from the national Treasury. Additionally, it was incumbent upon the Director of Audit to ensure that public monies approved by parliament were properly spent. For instance, the Constitution Order 1981 states “...The Director of Audit shall satisfy himself that all monies that have been appropriated by Parliament  and disbursed, have been applied to the purposes to which they were so appropriated and that the expenditure conforms to the authority that governs it” [Section 97 (1): C.O. 1981]. 

THE PAYMENT SCHEMES

Financial Instructions demand that “...expenditure of public funds exceeding $20, 000 were to be authorized by the Financial Secretary,” and accordingly approved by Parliament for specific purposes. For instance, while “...Financial Records and Treasury Payment Vouchers” may have shown how “...an EC$3Million Dollar Contract” was skillfully tinkered with for “...multiple payments of sums under “...EC$19, 000,” the Committee’s Report, either “...inadvertently or conveniently,” had omitted these irrefutable facts. Such, however, may have been too damning an indictment on the “...administrative competency, scrutinizing vigilance and efficiency of the custodians of public funds.” Instead of responsible public officials maintain the role as “...protectors of public funds,” many appeared to have helped to corrupt the financial systems, submitting to the dictates of public officials. Thus, endemically, they “...See nothing; ...Hear nothing; ...know nothing; and ...do nothing.”

CONCLUSION

Assigned to a “...Task-Oriented Position” within the office of the Prime Minister had made way for a Senatorial appointment of a sports director Mervin ‘MR’ Richards,” now charged with responsibility for “...Sports and Youth Affairs” [Observer Media: November 1, 2013]. Such re-assignment appeared to have brought fading twilight to a promising political career, dogged by a contractual scandal with suggestions of “...over-spending of public funds, unapproved by Parliament” that seemed to have “...Troubled the Leadership; ...peeved constituents and vexed the citizenry.” These, may have given the embattled Senator Winston Williams Jr. good reasons to reflect over many decisions he may have taken without allowing prudence and discretion as the guiding principles in his administrative dealings with public affairs.

 

                                             

 

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Excellent

#1 Skyewill » 2014-04-07 22:18

I would advocate for a woman for PM in Antigua and Barbuda but I don't think gender matters. Prime Minister Kamla Persaud-Bissessar is a person of high standards and that is what is needed in ANU. We have a culture riddled in dysfunctions. THIS ONE IS MY PERSONAL #1 CORE VALUE: There must be no compromise on integrity. "EVER". Those that scream and shout to be heard is really not worth hearing. They do that to hide incompetence. Just one strong leader. Just one good time will make all the difference in the world. Nice piece Mr. Pompey. I hope our so called leaders read this.
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