Observations from the Flight Deck of Starship Enterprise

Kudos and Criticisms

Looking at the portfolio assignments, one can see that an attempt has been made to place some persons in their area of training / interest where they might be able to effect change (banking executive Browne in Finance, human resource executive Swaratsingh in Public Administration, HIV/Aids doctor Amery Browne in Social Development, social worker Alicia Hospedales in Social Development, pan-man Junia Regrello in Community Development). Maybe the PM and his advisors gave greater weighting to organizational skills, interests, personal qualities and attributes…However some other observations come to mind:

  • If one wins the seat for the party, one’s reward may come in the form of public humiliation (poor no portfolio: Beckles [possible Deputy speaker], Joseph, Ojah-Maharaj, Roberts)
  • Maybe it does pay to be a lawyer and a card-carrying member of the party (5 received ministerial postings)
  • Maybe it does pay to be a business man/woman and a card-carrying member of the party (6 received minister, minister of state, parliamentary secretary or senator postings)
  • Past “scrutiny” for criminal activity or lack of integrity has no bearing on appointments (Hypolite and his dropped assault charge, Rowley and the Integrity Commission’s investigation into Tobago construction irregularities)
  • Some ministries must be in need of a spin-doctor (communication professionals Donna Cox in Community Development, Esther LeGendre in Education)
  • One does not have to contend elections or perform exceedingly well in prior parliamentary positions to be re-appointed with the same portfolio (Colm Imbert, Martin Joseph) or given a new one altogether (Hazel Manning)
  • Even if one did not contend elections and does not have parliamentary experience, sufficient loyalty to party in the form of consistent committee-work may earn one a post (Sen. L.L no longer has to board a plane to reach higher heights. She is now so much closer to the dream that she articulated when in secondary school. “ I want to be the first female, PNM, PM…”)
  • One’s training may be in a particular field, but one might be placed in a completely different area. Thank goodness for the technocrats and career civil servants in the Ministry who will attempt to do a lot of the real work! What would I do without the communications people who have already begun to script my words so that I seem know what I am talking about? (Geologist Rowley in Trade instead of Energy, teacher Abdul-Hamid in Public Utilities instead of Education or Tertiary Education, businesswoman Gopee-Scoon in Foreign Affairs instead of Junior Minister somewhere, lawyer Karen Nunez-Tesheira in Finance instead of Attorney General, or lawyer Christine Kangaloo in Tertiary Education instead of Attorney General . Who knows Bridgid Annisette-George?!). Eventually I hope to catch on…(and not look so unauthoritative like J.R., “kissing baby,” former Minister of Health)

For Those Who Want to Get into Politics and Stay in Politics…(or What I Learned from the Various Appointments)

  • Choose a party from before voting age and stick with it
  • Get your party card and join all possible committees
  • Pursue a career in law, business, communication (you do not necessarily have to excel)
  • Contribute financially to the party (if you can)
  • Get all charges dropped before elections
  • Run on the platform (optional)
  • Be a good member of Parliament (optional)
  • Marry the politician (has worked only for Hazel so far, backfired on Oma)

Good Wishes

May the newly appointed ministers, ministers of state, parliamentary secretaries, senators and other specially-invited guests enjoy that week-long beach-front, orientation session (Christine Sahadeo claims to have had no vacation for five years!) and learn from it (governance and team-work crash course for those of you lacking in experience in those areas).

First lesson: TRANSPARENCY. Tax-payers are footing the bill to Salybia Resort and Spa and the neighbouring Playa D’Estate – the only supposed accommodation in the entire country that can cater to the size of this particular audience. I know Roger Boynes, former Sports Minister under the last PNM administration, had/has a stake in the former, but who owns the other?!

Second lesson: INNOVATION. Listen up Joseph Ross, new Minister of Tourism. Doesn’t this lack of accommodation indicate that there is a need for greater incentives for hotel development in the non-urban areas of Trinidad (private, environmentally-friendly)?

Congrats to all the appointed. Hope your performance produces much (positive) fodder for future blog commentary.

Mango

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~ by mangoandmosquitoblog on November 14, 2007.

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