27 Jan 2011

Braying in the wind

The Prime Minister is asking the people and media to ‘move on’ from the issue of appointing Reshmi Ramnarine to a position she is not qualified for. Before I get into that, I must divert a little.

In Trinidad and Tobago, when applying for a job and when being interviewed, one must present one’s certification to verify qualifications cited. Now we can see why. On the other hand, having moved to the UK several years ago, I interviewed and successfully obtained several jobs based upon the qualifications I cited in my CV. No request has ever been made of me to provide proof I have the qualifications I claim.

“What is the difference?”, I find myself wondering. I think I may have the answer. In England, the society here is more mature. Sure, we have the tricksters and quacks, but on the whole, a man's (or woman’s) word is accepted until they prove otherwise. I once asked one of my supervisors why I wasn’t asked for my certificates. He replied that if I didn’t, then I won’t be able to do the job and I will be revealed as a fake. Sounds familiar?

Now, people here do embellish at interviews. I can honestly say I have never done so, but I have seen it time and time again. It is even expected by interviewers. It even has a name… ‘blagging’. Like, “I blagged it at the interview.”

In the case of Ms Ramnarine though, some things are different.
     The job was not advertised.
     Whether anyone else was considered is unknown.
     No one, not even Ms Ramnarine, was interviewed.
     Her qualifications were not checked, and precisely what my supervisor said, happened. She was revealed to the world as a fake.
     Embarrassment for her, her family and the appointers came about swiftly.

Since becoming a national - and even international - spectacle, her chances of finding a job now are severely compromised. Her qualifications are known, her abilities are suspect as is her integrity.

But the Prime Minister asking people to move on may be a bit too much too soon.

For one thing, this is another in a long line of gaffes that has made the PP lose a lot of support and moral ground. The country was fed up of P**rick, it is true. His ego, spending habits and other matters (CH, UDeCOTT, Monteil etc) coated minds with bitterness and contempt. But more important than the negative impact of the PNM and P**rick, was the positive image portrayed by Kamla and the PP.

So it wasn’t that the PP won because of contempt of the PNM alone. To now turn back on campaign promises, bend rules after braying about transparency, wheel and come again on nepotism, cronyism, and partisan politicking… well, it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.

The web forums show a distasteful but rightful withdrawal of support. The people claim not change but exchange. Some months ago, I predicted that the PP may never win another term. That may actually be an upside. The downside?

If the PP does put into place another campaign promise, that of recall of non-performing MPs, then it may not even finish one term. Thus the delay in implementing this particular promise seems self explanatory.

To ask the people then to move on isn’t a strategically sound move. It merely pisses them off. Better to come clean, claim it as the faux pas it is, and apologise. Then call a retreat, get your people to sing with one voice and perhaps only then… ask to move on. Until then, you’re merely another jackass braying in the wind.