What happened? The Unfinished Project

I call this the creative dilemma. It is the knife edge where you decide if this is a “wuk” or if this satisfies your passion. Here’s a 2 our of 3 decision criteria which is useful. Will I make money? Will I learn something new? and Will It open my circle of interface? The activity has to satisfy 2 or the to get me involved.

Ayrid Chandler

Last year, I got to work with a lot of new clients and with that came new experiences. The main one that stuck with me is what I refer to as: The Disappearing Client #Ghost #Casper. This client would hire me to work with them, and somewhere between Phase 2 and the final phase, pull a disappearing act. Not respond to emails, messages, calls, just completely drop the project.

I recently saw one of those clients at a ‘social gathering’ and they acted as though this never happened, and the act of running into them had me wondering how to better prepare and safe guard against future instances like this. What do you do when a client has made a down payment, agreed to work with you, you’ve submitted work for feedback and never get it? Or you work through to the end, the client just has to give final…

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Zessers Come in all Forms!

Take away the gold chain and the ‘Zesser’ descriptor fits several other people in T&T.  Some of them drive Porche Cayennes, Mercedes Benz, Range Rovers, BMWs and other high-end cars.  Some of them live in specially outfitted high-rise apartments; they pay for tables where their friends lime or where they can prey on potential victims.  Some of them are sexually promiscuous, wear brand name or designer clothes and expensive red gold watches and I could go on and on about their abhorrent behaviours but the AG may know them better. 

So exactly what was the Attorney General trying to communicate when he attempted to threaten or scare those persons who wear big gold chains as a symbol of their authority and status among their peers? Why didn’t he use other examples of Zessers? Those who have moved from D.J.ing to multi-millionaires in less than 10 years, those who moved from tent rentals and scaffolding suppliers to almost billionaires in less than a generation.  He chose to focus on the gold-chain-wearing Zessers and has not considered that there are hundreds, maybe thousands of young people wearing costume jewellery to signal their belonging. Every generation has their outliers who externalize their symbols of belonging. 

The AG commented that the gold-chain wearing Zessers will be asked to prove that they purchased jewellery legally and that is commendable but while he’s at it there is a long list of other examples of Zessers whom he needs to ask to account for their material possessions  

 Stereotyping will not get us to the root cause of criminality, nor will it bring home the Mr. Bigs of our country. What the AG has done is stereotyped every youth from the ghetto as a misfit and a criminal simply because he chooses to wear a big gold chain.  Like the majority of citizens, I want you to trace the money, but stereotyping the young person on a fad is no way to embrace and encourage young people in another direction.

To bring home the Mr.  Bigs and really get to the root of criminality, you have to have the courage to dig close to home.  Find out who were the financiers of both political parties. Hold persons to account for their recent wealth from the Prison Officer who lives in a mansion to the Police Officer who parks his high-end car in the Police Station to the opportunistic landholder who just happened to own land which the government needed.  You cannot simply stand in Parliament and point at the ghetto. Remember the persons in the ghetto are simply collateral damage (according to a late Prime Minister) and they are desperate enough to do whatever is required. Go after those persons who are liquid enough to engage in major funding of illicit activity. To do otherwise is to engage in a meaningless charade.

There are Zessers who don’t wear big gold chains. 

Dear Editor: Asinine Thinking by Udecott left 200 motorists stranded in POS Parkade — Wired868

“It is asinine thinking to hold 200 motorists hostage in a car park because there is a glitch in your system. This is exactly what happened on Monday April 15 at the Parkade in Port of Spain. 40 more words

Dear Editor: Asinine Thinking by Udecott left 200 motorists stranded in POS Parkade — Wired868

Stop the Destruction of Chaguaramas!

My first visit to the seaside was Carenage, and in particular, Williams Bay.  We travelled by bus and eventually I would “borrow” my father’s Raleigh bicycle (before the permission was given), put the seat to its lowest position and ride to Carenage.  I remember that Pier 1 was not even a thing. Today, its building is imposing and it is home to several boats spewing sewage into Williams Bay. If you look closely, there is a slight shimmer on the water around the boats providing further evidence that “stuff” is being disposed of in the water.  This is the same location where families frolic in the sun oblivious of the sewage and pollutants.

Heading further west into the peninsula is depressing; you pass the dilapidated hoardings through which you catch glimpses of concrete structures at different stages of completion; the remnants of a dream of a museum, and on the right, the O2 Park where the hill is being or has been raped.

If you turn north and head to Macqueripe, you see a welcome sign saying “U Pick” which used to be a small business where you were able to pick your vegetables from the stem before buying them and recall that this very area was the home to recent Carnival Fetes.  Other locations in Chaguaramas have also been used to host fetes including one constituency’s “Bush Party”.

Astonishingly, a geologist is presiding over this destruction of the Chaguaramas Peninsula and that is troubling.  We may say that it is all in the interest of development, but I disagree. There are many instances in other countries where development was done in concert with nature.   We cannot continue destroying the natural beauty with which this country has been blessed.

They tell me that Chaguaramas has some of the most arable agricultural lands in the country and I believe them because of what I have experienced.  I have seen Howler monkeys swinging in the trees, butterflies flitting amongst the shrubs, parrots screeching atop bamboo clumps and the morning mist blanketing the golf course.  These experiences are precious and available freely to any citizen but they will disappear if we continue to abuse nature in the way that we are doing. Indeed, the monkeys are not as plentiful and the fauna and flora not as rich as when I first started exercising in Chaguaramas.

We have a collective responsibility to ensure that our employees (the politicians) act in our collective interest and in this case, it means that they must declare and protect Chaguaramas as a National Park.  It means stopping the continued destruction of the hills at O2, discontinuing the annual Carnival Fetes and Jouvert Parties which chase away all animal life and ensuring that the status of Chaguaramas as a National Park is attained.

Who would have thought that a Geologist would do otherwise?

Property Matters – Sandals Shuffle

“…we are running a country, not a Company…”
—Mia Mottley QC MP, Barbados PM – from her inaugural budget Wednesday, 20 March 2019


“…we are running a country, not a Company…”
—Mia Mottley QC MP, Barbados PM – from her inaugural budget Wednesday, 20 March 2019

This title occurred to me due to the quiet backsliding of the main supporters of the Tobago Sandals project. This is the kind of situation where people thought they were operating safely in the dark, until someone suddenly opens the door and turns on the lights. The emergence of Sandals’ recent skirmishes have also reminded me of a shuffle.

Those shameless promoters told the public repeatedly about how satisfactory the existing arrangements were for State-owned hotels and went on to explain the special benefits of Sandals and so on and so forth. The steady exposure of the rickety arrangements for the existing hotels and the publication of the Tobago Sandals MoU have combined to end the scheme. Sunlight is really the best disinfectant.

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Demming: Rend your hearts and not thy garments! Legal Affairs should loosen dress code — Wired868

Recently I witnessed an act of discrimination at the Ministry of Legal Affairs. Two people were not allowed to enter the building because of their dress. One was wearing mid-calf jeans and the other had jeans with horizontal tears. In my own case I was only allowed in because I had a shawl to place…

Demming: Rend your hearts and not thy garments! Legal Affairs should loosen dress code — Wired868

Reflections on Pan and Its Potential!

I took a chance and agreed to an assignment with Invaders for Carnival 2019.  The result is a new, sweet, exciting love which is so emotionally conflicting that I break out in cold sweat.  My “puppy love” had been for the band of my birthplace in East Dry River: Despers. Then history unfolded and I accepted the position of Corporate communications Manager at WITCO (West Indian Tobacco Company) where I had responsibility for Desperadoes.  I attempted to mold that puppy love into the perfection that existed only in my own head. The result, a failure that continues to haunt my existence. It was like a novice trying to ride and tame a wild horse. Despite the availability of money and huge passion, my Despers experiment failed mainly because the band was in search of a “new man with a hammer”.  At the end of my tour of duty, I had a palpable dislike for pan except for the adrenaline rush which Panorama produces, complete with increased heart beat and increased physical capacity.

Over the years, I have kept a distance from pan except for the annual foray into the panyards which always ended with me proudly wearing my Despers T-Shirt at Panorama semi finals in the North Stand pretending to be some kind of “bad john” Despers supporter.  Over the years my love has been growing cold because the band has not changed and has become what I describe as the “vagrant brand” bouncing from one home to another in Port of Spain, running from their own children. What adds to my anxiety is the knowledge that the generosity of the sponsor, WITCO is tenuous; they are a company operating without the legal opportunity to advertise, and I am surprised that they continue the sponsorship.  The future of Despers is in jeopardy but their capacity for music is unquestionable.

Carnival 2019 found me flirting with a new “man” and the relationship was consummated at the Panorama Semi Finals with me wearing an Invaders T-Shirt on the “drag”.  This caused enough taunting from friends who knew me well including Noreen who said: “Well look meh crosses!”. Invaders has been a truly inspiring experience for me and I have learned several lessons which needs further formal refinement.

Lean management structure is alive and continuously implemented at Invaders Pan Yard.  Their structure comprises a Board of Management, an Executive (of which the three most active Leaders are the Manager, the Captain and the Operations Manager) and the players.  To the observer, there is a seamless interplay which causes things to happen every night of practice. It becomes even more intense and seamless when all the racks are moved from their small panyard to the neighbouring car park without voices being raised or the use of expletives.  Most players simply push their racks from one venue to the other and the practice begins in earnest. Maybe the presence of so many young people is responsible for this civility but “de cussing” was just not evident to me.

Placing a value on productivity is another key lesson.  When players turn up, they get to their positions, begin to practice by rote  and do so until they get the music which means being able to play the piece as demonstrated by someone who “got it”.  It requires repetition and a level of dedication which I have only seen in athletes, highly motivated students or perhaps classical musicians.  Several nights I asked the question: what would it take to transfer this productivity and dedication to the Public Service or CEPEP or any other State Enterprise? Maybe it is the instant gratification of getting the tune because every practice ended on several “run-throughs” of the tune from start to finish or wherever they reached so the player felt accomplished or understood the unassigned homework that was required.  For at least four weeks, the end or the completeness of the tune is a moving target which can change at any time and the players unquestioningly work with this ambiguity. Conversely, changing an instruction for a Public Servant requires an effort similar to that required for changing national legislation.

In traditional management we talk about PESOS as an approach for training persons to master a task.  PESOS is an acronym for prepare, explain, show, observe and supervise.  In each section of the band, I saw this happening over and over and without push-back.  Imagine if this occurred every day in the public service, we would have such smooth running institutions.

This assignment re-energized my hope not only for steelband but for my country.  If I had the opportunity I would redirect the money which is allocated to creating temporary Carnival infrastructure, to setting up a task force to identify the transferable lessons from the steelband yards with the purpose of finding a way to implement these lessons in the Public Service and All State Enterprises.  

In the same way that the Total Quality Movement was initiated in the 1940s and became a way of doing business, maybe we can establish a steelband approach to doing business in developing countries but it would have to begin in the panyards and backstreets of our countries.  Annually at least 5,000 persons live a panyard experience of being goal oriented, highly productive and disciplined. Economic diversification is not just a thing, but must become a way of life and sport and culture provides a rich opportunity for the brave.

Thank you, Invaders.