The New Today

Commentary

Is the new government being set up for failure?

In a previous article published in the July 8th edition of THE NEW TODAY, it was said the transition process between an outgoing and incoming government is an opportunity for the new government to capitalise on the momentum of the election and lay a foundation for success.

The article went on further to state how well the new government transitions into office will determine whether it is able to deliver on promises made during the election campaign. A key determinant of that is the design and composition of the senior administrative team who will spearhead the implementation of the government’s agenda.

According to Mariana Brown, “people or corporations are successful not because they have not made mistakes, but because they incorporated the learning from those mistakes into their operations, which help them when the next challenge comes along”.

If the quality of the senior managers recently announced is anything to go by it is quite evident the transition team failed to consider the mistakes of the past NDC and may be setting up the new government for failure.

One of the mistakes of the past NDC government was failure to dismantle the network of cronies and sycophants within the public service, especially those in sensitive positions where they could have frustrated the efforts of government.

And so they did, from the Basic Needs Trust Fund Project (BNTF) to the program of projects funded by the Kuwait Fund, implementation of these projects were frustrated by high up sycophants in the Ministry of Finance where at the point of the 2013 defeat of the NDC government hundreds of millions in United States dollars in terms of worth of projects remain not implemented.

Other instance of frustration caused by the actions of sycophants and cronies were delays in completion of the low income housing project at Mount Rush and commencement of work on the National Stadium. All these projects were under ministries where sycophants occupied senior positions.

In addition, the late payment of Public Officers’ salaries were another instance of sabotage by sycophants. It is felt the salary payment debacle was one of the main reasons for the defeat of the NDC government in 2013 and it left a negative indelible impression on the electorate that took two election cycles to erase.

The decision of the transition team to allow an incompetent sycophant handpicked by the former leader, a former NNP youth activist to remain on the senior management team is a serious mistake that could stymie government efforts to improve development and delivery of services and programs to the all-important youth constituency.

What is even more discouraging is the former leader didn’t see it fit to confirm the sycophant in the position yet the decision was made to have the sycophant, who is acting, remain as a senior manager.

What possible rationale that could be given to justify this sycophant being made to lead a function that was so heavily criticised during the recent election campaign.

Another disturbing decision is to place sycophants of the former leader in important ministries such as Infrastructure Development, Agriculture, the Environment and Health.

Under the former leader some of those same sycophants were not entrusted with these important ministries because it was felt they lack experience and not sufficiently competent yet they are now given the task to do so.

What message is being sent to the many competent and experienced senior public officers who were victimised by the former NNP government and continue to remain on a desk doing nothing?

It has been said that failure is the indispensable companion of success as each failure is meant to teach a lesson. Well it appears the transition team has not learnt any lessons from the failures of the past NDC government and unfortunately is setting up the new government to fail.

Loading the transition team with too many persons associated with the failed 2008 to 2013 NDC government was always going to be a big risk. This has clearly came through in the recent decisions on senior managers.

I was astonished when I heard the young new Minister with responsibility for Youth speaking to Imani supervisors said to the effect that after reviewing the Imani program he is satisfied that it is going well and all are doing what they are supposed to do.

He further made some imprudent comments suggesting that his Ministry’s responsibility is to regulate programs – this fly in the face of the thousands of young persons who were denied places in the program because either they or their families were considered NDC supporters or citizens who are aware of Imani workers that stayed home for months and still received pay.

However, the lead for that function is the naive former Youth Minister under the previous NDC government who failed miserably to energise that Ministry when he was in office.

I am not surprised why the sycophant senior manager was entrusted to spearhead that function and the young Minister made that statement.

Another mistake of the last NDC government was to forsake its supporters and hug up those of the then defeated NNP regime.

As the treacherous turncoat, who him and his cabal will soon meet they ‘waterloo’, by the man he betrayed his former leader Hon Tillman Thomas for used to say, “am the Minister of all Grenadians”, coded language to justify keeping those sycophants in key positions – two of which were NNP bag men in Foreign Affairs where he used to be.

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One of whom has now been rewarded to head the agriculture function the same Ministry his former turncoat boss was in charge of during the reign of the defeated NNP regime.

Scores of NDC activists have already started to grumble of not being engaged since the election victory as they continue to observe how NNP sycophants, who facilitated the dirty work of the defeated NNP government are being placed in positions where they can later turn around and frustrate the new government as was done to the 1990 to 1995 and 2008 to 2013 NDC governments.

The notion that NDC does treat its own badly and destroy its children have been part of the NDC brand in the past. Early indications are that that aspect of the brand is still alive and well as a small clique of transition members attempt to expropriate the people’s victory.

NDC massive, make your voices heard now or face the prospect of a return of the NNP in five or so years because the lessons from the past have not been learnt. Bill Gates said, it is fine to celebrate success but it is important to learn from the lessons of failure.

Those who are still in a celebratory mood over the election victory must understand if the lessons of the past are not taken into consideration the new government will be doomed to failure.

Have members of the transition team not read the recent judge’s ruling in the Rachel Roberts case? How would the optics look for the new government if public officers who were victimised because they were perceived as being supporters of the NDC and continue to be left out in the cold are now forced to take the new government to court?

The Opposition Leader will make a field day out of that situation as am sure he would do for the instance where a transition lead for a particular function ended up being recommended for a senior management position in the same Ministry.

We would wait to see if other leads for particular functions will end up with senior positions in the same Ministry or cushy diplomatic postings abroad in the case of Foreign Affairs. This is certainly a conflict of interest and suggest a lack of integrity in the transition process and would play into the hands of a belligerent Opposition Leader.

Correcting failure requires clarity of purpose and ownership of the error – it doesn’t appear that members of the transition who were part of the past NDC government have owned up to their pass failures and are content to make the same mistakes all over again.

The transition leads are expected to be subject matter experts with political savvy committed to the government’s transformational agenda but their decisions to date don’t hold true to those expectations and it is quite evident that naivety, personal grudges, transactional relationships and beholden friendships are overriding considerations in the decision-making process of the team.

For what else can account for keeping: an NNP sycophant who came through their youth arm in a position to deliver to an important constituency such as youths, a South American snake considered egoistic by her former boss when being chastised for non-performance in a high profile function to interact and lead the charge in mobilising development funds under an important area as climate change, a bandwagon sycophant who turned up regularly at NNP public meetings in the south during the election campaign notwithstanding being a senior public officer in a function that badly needs attention to address the island’s crumbling infrastructure.

What about the two beholden, handpicked sycophants to address the health needs of the nation when competent, highly trained and experienced public officers such as Isaac Baghwan, Mervin Haynes, Dr. Walters and many others, who were marginalised and victimised for years remain in limbo just wasting away in offices.

The question must continue to be asked – why is Assistant Superintendent of Police Senneth Joseph not yet seated at the FIU? Is someone with clout trying to slow down the investigations that ought to start into a number of controversial activities under NNP like the Billboard scandal on the Sister Isle?

Members of the transition team before making their decisions must consider past instances of: breach of trust at the Cabinet Secretariat under the last NDC government; sabotage and efforts to frustrate government’s programs and the Opposition Leader’s ability to manipulate crisis situations for the headwinds ahead would be strong and the government will need a loyal, competent, experienced team of senior managers to properly navigate the impending situation.

The current situation in neighbouring Suriname where protesters are now calling for the removal of President Santokhi for failure to address leftover rampant corruption and remove corrupt sycophants of the previous government after voting him to office just over two years, should send a message to those at the seat of power here in Grenada.

The Opposition Leader has twice manipulated similar situations in the past to return his party to power. The transition team must understand failure to learn from the lessons of the past will only doom this government to failure.

Special Correspondent