The Petrotrin story could have had a better outcome if only there was less testosterone being thrown about. This is clearly a situation of, “I am in charge and I will do what I want.” Considering that you have been a large part of the decision making over the past 20 years and are therefore responsible, do you believe that this how to run a company a (or country) competently?
The PNM has presided over bad decision making and politicking at Petrotrin for decades, but now the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance only want to express this situation purely with economics. The crucial facet being missed by purely economic argument is that this is also a socio-cultural issue and a human development issue. It is about changing the way labour and business interact to produce outcomes, moving from the futility of adversarial stance to a collaborative one.
Once again, the government isis also missing the “boat” by turning its back on an opportunity to be a game-changer. There could have been two outcomes; first, a message to “John and Kavita Public” that we have to give a fair day’s labour for a fair day’s pay and second, negotiated (ie. mutually agreed) outcomes are more likely to succeed than those which are adversarial. For either of these outcomes to be achieved, deep dialogue and collaboration would have been required.
The leadership keeps missing the potential demonstration effect that can impact every part of our country. Instead they choose the worn-out power play informed by “might is right” and the power of the patriarchy. Our country needs to see good minds get together (regardless of gender or socioeconomic status), and have a robust exchange of ideas to emerge with solutions which they all agree to uphold. If that happens it will signal that we are really “all in this together”. How can this autocratic display of power be allowed to occur in the lead up to elections? I keep hearing a line from Sparrow’s little ditty – “Who ain’t like it could get the hell out of here”.
The leadership is also missing the “boat” which can signal that there is always a middle ground that could be attained but it requires accountability, collaboration and transparency. How could you sign a Memorandum of Agreement in April and less than six months later, pretend that it never existed? There was a time when a person’s word was his bond and we had gentlemen’s agreements. Well, if a written agreement can be broken at this level, then what do you expect from the ordinary citizens? They will behave exactly as the leadership and speak with “forked tongues”.
The anecdotal evidence suggests that this population is waiting and anxious to follow anyone whom they believe will be honest and act in their common interest and not in the interest of certain cliques of people. What the Prime Minister and his circle should be doing is figuring out how to get Roget and his aggressors to sit around a table and hammer out an agreement. They will all then have the moral authority to tackle WASA, the Police, the Health Sector and anywhere there is public expenditure in the provision of goods and services.
The industrial court has given us an opportunity and it is up to us to grasp it, run with it and be guided by the notions of Accountability, Collaboration and Transparency (ACT).