Running alongside three evils!

UWI Half Marathon 2017
Exciting Finish with Dexter Charles!

13.1 miles provides ample opportunity for reflection as you seek relief from the boredom of taking each of the 30,000ish steps expected to be taken to complete a half-marathon.

For my umpteenth UWI half-marathon, I focused on the Priority Bus Route (PBR), the daily horror of commuting from the east, and the promise of relief that was so boldly made on the election campaign trail of 2015.

I also remembered Dr. Ray Furlonge and Dr. Trevor Townsend, because they both have spent their lifetimes suggesting practical solutions for easing the traffic congestion, to no avail.  

There are 3 evils which the Government of Trinidad and Tobago permits on the PBR.

The first evil is the issuing of PBR passes to members of the “in-group” while the population endures the pain of an almost non-existent transportation system. This special pass has become a prized possession and re-enforces the notion that privilege will get you special access and therefore special advantages in this country.  When will the playing field be levelled in every way?

The second evil is the facilitation of houses with direct access to the bus route.  Indeed, people have paved over the drains and park their vehicles on the shoulder of the PBR or house their cars in these paid for by the state garages.  How can this be permitted on such an important transportation artery?  Laws are broken with impunity and nobody cares enough to take action.  In addition to this encroachment on the PBR, there are structures whose boundary lines are built on the edge of the shoulder.  Isn’t there a “set back” law for buildings?

I observed the third evil less than 2 miles into the race.  There is a gas station with an entrance and exit onto the PBR.  Why should one station be given that kind of business advantage over any others?  What is the rationale? If this entrance and exit is designed exclusively for the Maxi drivers, how is this being monitored? I don’t accept the rationale that this exclusivity is designed to reduce traffic on the main road.

Recently our leaders have been talking about the lawlessness of our country, and that’s valid, but I say to them, “Don’t complain about what you permit!”  Someone permits the excessive issuance of PBR passes and that just adds to the congestion. Someone permits these illegal structures on the PBR … someone allowed the gas station access to the PBR.

We can start doing the right thing and send a message to the entire country.  How about starting with just the PBR?

I assure you that I’ll be taking those 30,000 steps in 2018 and checking if the illegal structures still exist; if the gas station still has this special access and during my training, I will take note of the number of vehicles using the PBR without permission.

Always a Line in the Sand!

Casino Workers at Imbert's home!There is always “a line in the sand”.  I draw that line at protesting in front of an MP’s private residence. Just as I would defend your right to protest, I defend the politician’s right to enjoyment of his/her property. We must continue to respect the sanctity of a person’s home and in this case, the Minister of Finance.

I am not agreeing or disagreeing with the actions taken by the protestors representing “the gaming industry”, I am simply saying that everyone needs their private space and that must be respected. In addition, one must always weigh up whether the action will hinder or help their cause. Here’s an example from Sesame Street which talks about weighing your options.
In this case, the objective was to get a meeting with the Minister in an attempt to change his position with regard to the new taxes. Disturbing his family routine would not have helped their cause, and in fact may have angered him in immeasurable ways. The issue, while framed as personal, is in fact an issue to be addressed by the Office of the Minister of Finance, not the private citizen who happens to hold the position himself. Every effort should be made to protect the privacy of his wife and family.

So, I have learned the following lessons:

Firstly, there must always be goal clarity. Once the goal is clear and unambiguous, it is easier to have a laser-like focus on achieving that goal. It also makes it easy to interrogate any proposed actions and question what would be the likely impact of that action. Anything that distracts from the main goal should not be done.

Secondly, protesting in front of the Minister’s private residence had absolutely no impact on the state. So once the media moved onto another story, the protest moved off of the front page and can only be renewed by additional action. Protesters must therefore consider what the ultimate impact of their action will be. For example, in a recent protest in which a road was destroyed, there has been no consequence for the protesters who destroyed the road. The inconvenience will be experienced for some time to come and the burden for that repair will ultimately fall to the citizens.

Thirdly, keep the momentum going or you will lose. This is precisely what has happened; the protesters got a meeting with the Minister in the Ministry, received no assurances and the Minister of Finance continues as usual.

He may have won this round, but until we change the approach from the dictatorial stance to a collaborative one, we will all continue to be losers in this game of politics. Meanwhile, protest if you wish but spare a thought for the families of our politicians and keep them out of the mix.

Defend this Mr. Mapp?

    • This post by Randolph Mapp has not been edited and is in response to an earlier blog titled “Strike 3 against Prime Minister Dr. Rowley”.
      Randolph Mapp

      Read Dr Rowley’s autobiography and you wouldn’t talk such siht about him being a shameful example for the youths of the nation. Shame on your for buying into fecal talk from Demming, Womantra,PLOTT and the UNC women’s group who claim Dr Rowley disrepected woman. You ever see the human nastiness women turn themselves into at Carnival?
      Demming and those clowns always turn a blind eye to the disrespecful beings women become at Carnival. And Ivor , Dr Rowley is not an expatriate like you hustling to survive in USA. He’s a home-grown boy committed to making here better for jokers like you and Demming to run your mouths.

      Here’s my response to Mr. Mapp:
      October 19, 2017 6:57 pm

      Dear Mr. Mapp
      I am surprised that a person with the patience to have read Dr Rowley’s autobiography will so quickly descend into name calling and attempts at insults. Your description of what women turn themselves into at Carnival seems to be at odds with what Dr. Rowley enjoys.

      Carnival and Dr. Rowley

      If you choose to engage this discussion, I would really appreciate a more substantial response rather than the name calling.

      October 21, 2017 5:59 pm

The Importance of Memory

Thanks for the reminder.

I am writing this article on Friday 13th October 2017, which is the first time T&T has had a national holiday to honour the memory of our First Peoples.

These holidays are important, not only in the literal sense of having a day-off, but also marking certain critical events so that the collective memory could be preserved. That process of intentionally preserving important memories is seminal to the development of a civilisation. This extends to our business and professional life, even being decisive for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Our official record is so often vacant, by design, that one can scarcely assess the real situation or reliably make projections as to the likely outcomes of proposals. The Public Sector is a huge part of the national business, so it is critical how that sector conducts itself and how its ‘lessons learned’ are recorded. Ours is a sorry story of the public…

View original post 1,105 more words

Strike 3 against Prime Minister Rowley!


Enter a capture – Parlview October 15, 2017

The Prime Minister’s recent “grooming” statement did not surprise me.  Indeed it was at least the 3rd occasion in which his reference to women has been unfortunate.  What has left me stunned is the image of 2 female Members of Parliament sitting behind him who obviously enjoyed the insult and verbal abuse.   Even the Minister of National Security exhibited his total enjoyment of this unfortunate statement.  How can I feel safe when the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Security, the Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts and the Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, holding the portfolios of Gender and Child Affairs, Ecclesiastical Affairs and Central Administration Services, Tobago all publicly demonstrate their support for this unfortunate characterization?

When the women’s movement fought for women’s representation in government, we did not expect that female MPs would participate in such negative portrayals of women.  We expected you to be shocked, or at the very least you would remain expressionless in the face of such abuse but instead you enjoyed the boy’s room expression and by your behaviour, gave it your unspoken approval. We did not expect you to publicly support such anti-woman banter. Did you even recognise it as anti-woman?

I wonder how you explained to your daughters what the Prime Minister meant by “grooming” or by “it turns into pasture”.  I wonder how you explained the delight on your face and the face of your leader to your mother or sister or elder in church.  Are you and your female colleagues on the government bench still rolling over with laughter?  I am reminded of a statement by Albert Einstein: … the world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.”

The women of this country expect you and every woman in Parliament to clearly and firmly object to negative characterizations of women every time that it occurs, because words are powerful and what is said reveals inner thoughts and views about the subject. Words like these also send powerful cues to other men about the lack of esteem that women are given so each woman in Parliament has a responsibility to ensure that our male MPs honour women through their expressions.

The women of this country expect you to uphold the dignity of all women, because our country will only thrive when we dignify each other, and the leadership has a huge role to play in demonstrating that capacity to lead with dignity.

The women of this country also expect you to call out our leaders when they fall below expectations because that is how we will collectively improve.  If this was the first unfortunate statement, it might be forgivable, but there is a consistent denigration of women by our Prime Minister. If you called him out in private, then please receive my private commendation, but publicly, my expectation is for us to speak well, do well and treat each other with kindness.

We owe it to ourselves and the children of our future.

Imbert … neither the love nor the likes!

Jamaican reggie artist Chronixx does it for the “love, not the likes”.  That is the line that dominated my mind in the recent hurricane of lashes that the Minister of Finance received from his post budget discussion.


I am convinced that Minister Imbert does it neither for the love nor the likes.  He has been returned to office by his constituents for the past 25 years and this reassures him (the way a battered woman reassures her abuser) that the population will always love him. But politics and spousal abuse are not the same and it is only a matter of time before his constituents say, “enough is enough.”  While I recognize that the vote is for the brand (ie. the party), the representative will either add value or diminish the brand by his actions and words, and at the moment the brand seems to be going in the wrong direction.

Minister Imbert, like the leadership of the current Cabinet represents a cohort which refuses to believe that our future politics will be determined on social media. He is stuck in a paradigm which died at the turn of the last century.  Public figures and indeed politicians whose salaries WE PAY, MUST engage us respectfully.  Communicating in an age of social media means that your every communication must be based on a wellthought through strategy that considers (a) your target audience and (b) the outcomes you wish.  Once your strategy is agreed, and the target audience identified, then you shape the message and decide on the messenger.

Communicating in a digital age means that audiences want quick, easily digestible messages.  They will not engage with the 3-hour budget presentation or the full clip of the exchange at the post-budget discussion.  They will receive whatever is trending and unfortunately in this instance, what was consumed was an articulate black women taking on a sullen faced white politician.  No legal threat or manoeuvre could erase that impact.

The current government has been weak at traditional Communications and they are even weaker at communicating in a digital age. What is needed is a total re-design of the engagement strategy of the government at every level, from the budget presentation to the employment practices of public servants.  Systems re-design is the only way to become effective.

Here’s a CNBC comment that could put some reality to the dinosaur-like thinking that is passing for communications and leadership.

“At 2.01 billion, Facebook has more monthly active users than WhatsApp (500 million), Twitter (284 million) and Instagram (200 million)—combined.  (Source: CNBC)”.

Minister Imbert doesn’t seem to care for the love nor the likes so it’s licks for the population.