6 Feb 2011

Resign now!

We call for Kamla Persad-Bissessar – the Prime Minister - to offer her resignation.

Mrs Persad-Bissessar has said "When I assumed this position I said that the buck stops with me... so there is no point in laying blame or in pointing fingers. There is no apology that would suffice... In trying to remedy this mess, we embarked on a process. It was never our intention to deceive.
This and anything else said in relation to it does not constitute a full or appropriate apology, in the circumstances! Yes, she has acknowledged a mistake and has committed to ensuring things are put right etc etc. However, there is no admission of how the "misstep" came about. We must also remember that the Prime Minister was previously confident about the appointment and the last person in government to offer an ‘apology’ – if you can call it that.

The PM said "We should commit ourselves to learn from this and create systems that would ensure that something like this should never ever occur again. How we do that is by implementing a more rigorous selection process in the appointment of the director of the SSA."
This begs the question: ‘Was there not a rigorous selection process in place already?’ If not why not and will the People’s Partnership now attempt to duck behind a less than rigorous process, inherited from the PNM? It would not surprise us if they did.

What appears to have happened, based on a lot of evidence, is that the process was bypassed. In other words the appointment of Ramnarine was rail-roaded at top speed, by-passing even Mr Sandy and heading straight for the Prime Minister. There is the conspicuous and reasonable appearance that the Prime Minister, or possibly those under her direction and control, had a directing influence on processes being fiddled so as to put Ramnarine in the position of Director of SSA – which to average people, she was unsuitably qualified for. Such a failure of the collective intelligence of a government beggars belief.

It is apparent to us that the failure was not, at it’s heart, with the rigorousness of any process, but with the way such processes were distorted by political expedience. What was the thing that was driving such 'expedience'? That is what the public wants to know and they need to know it now! If not it will remain in the realm of suspicion that the source of the political expedience emanated from the office of the Prime Minister.

On 26th January 2011 the Prime Minister said “Ms Ramnarine...was employed by the SIA which was the illegal entity. We are in the process of restructuring the illegal SAUTT and the illegal SIA into one body, made up of those with the greatest expertise who shall be placed into one body which is the SSA, the one created by statute” - and thereafter the people are treated to Ramnarine’s ‘expertise’; leaping like ‘superwoman’ over 22 others senior to her in a single bound, for the first appointment ever to the ‘legal’ SSA. Does not that reek of some kind of ‘political expedience’? We say it does.

It would seem extremely foolish to any average reasonable person, that a PM should say 'the buck stops with me' - which is quite clearly a statement of ‘acceptance of responsibility’ - and then in the same or next breath say "..so there is no point in laying blame or in pointing fingers." What is the point of taking such responsibility if one is not prepared to take blame? Logically if you take the responsibility you must take the blame. We hope that the Prime Minister has not estimated that a sizeable proportion of the electorate was actually born yesterday - how else could such unfettered twaddle be uttered with such confidence? We therefore feel a need to inform the good lady and a 'learned friend' (she knows that means) that we certainly weren’t  born yesterday or this morning.

How can the electorate be reassured that the causes of such a serious ‘misstep’ for which responsibility but no blame is taken, will not resurface in the future? It escapes us as it would every right-minded citizen. We and many others will in our minds know or have good theories as to the causes of the ‘misstep’ – and quite probably Mrs Persad-Bissessar knows them too. Perhaps she may even know that we know. Were she to admit, for example,  that the root cause of the ‘misstep’ was nepotism, it would be tantamount to committing immediate political suicide.

That leads us to wonder whether if in fact nepotism or some other relevant ‘ism’  was operating, should it be covered up with a superficial and emollient apology. Mrs Persad-Bissessar said “I will always strive to do the right thing and, if things go wrong, I am willing to do whatever it takes to make things right”. Such commitment to doing what is right must be seen to drive the right kind of action. And what is that? This matter is not merely about the appointment of Ramnarine - not in the slightest. It is about a catastrophic failure of government and good governance, that has irreparably damaged confidence in the People’s Partnership. This faux pas by the Prime Minister (having taken responsibility for it) has etched itself deeply in the memory of the people. It will remain in their minds like a splinter under the finger nail, that no tangible explanation that accounts for it, was proffered. [No – ‘misstep’ doesn’t do it for us]. Is that what the people must endure? Is that what the people deserve? We think not. They did not deserve it under the PNM and they surely deserve better now.

The Prime Minister must now fall on her own double-edged sword of accountability. Respect for the people, the principles of democracy, and her own unwavering commitment to do the right thing requires unquestionably that she must offer her resignation forthwith! That is what will suffice – in showing to the electorate that the People’s Partnership will rise above all ‘isms’ and that they  are fearless in their commitment to change.

[A PDF copy of the above is downloadable by clicking here: Resign Now!]

Captain Walker and Jumbie @ Jumbie’s Watch – www.jumbieswatch.com