Categorized | Features, General

De Ole Dawg – Part 16 2016: How can we reform governance (given the “business as usual” challenge)?

How can we reform governance (given the “business as usual” challenge)?

BRADES, Montserrat, April 21, 2016 – Last time, we pondered democracy vs “de mock-racy.” So, we must reform governance in the face of the balance of forces that favours “business as usual.” (Or, should that be, march of folly as usual?)de ole dawg - demock-racy

For, folly,  incompetence, envy, selfish ambition, greed, corruption, unsound policy, habitually bad decisions, chaos and poverty are easy to achieve; it is sustainable sound progress under our national vision of a healthy, wholesome, green, God-fearing, soundly democratic, entrepreneurial and prosperous society that is a hard uphill fight. To take up this fight, we need to understand and map out our challenge.

The seven mountains of influence vision is a good way to do that. We see here seven commanding heights that dominate any community: 1: religion (or religion substitutes), 2: family, 3: education, 4: government, 5: media, 6: the arts and entertainment, 7: business (and its finance and sci-tech underpinnings).

These tend to be unified by a dominant world-view and by the cultural/ policy agenda it grounds. All of this is enforced by dominant power factions sitting in “castles” on the mountains. We can also imagine vents spraying jets of ideas and agendas from these seven mountains,  that then and become a part of the air we breathe. Or yet again, these are like seven pillars that hold up world-views and agendas as a roof which then unifies and protects them. That, then, is how business as usual [BAU] gets entrenched in the community.

But, business as usual has consequences, and may even head over a cliff. So, we can compare it with what a more sustainable alternative [ALT] would be likely to achieve given our strengths and weaknesses [SW] and the factors and trends that shape our opportunities and threats [OT]:

Change Strategy

However, as the seven mountains dominate policy agendas, for an alternative to become credible in policy discussions it has to become established as a significant force on at least two or three of the mountains. There has to be a steady, strong and bold media voice, or the alternative  . . . regardless of how sound it actually is  . . . will be easily drowned out and ignored. Likewise there has to be enough money to back the alternative, so it has to be backed by sufficient support in business and/or government. (Indeed, one reason for democratic, rights-respecting government is that this provides a platform that allows alternatives to be heard and protects the weak from the strong.)

Here in Montserrat we have had seven governments in twenty years since the volcano disaster disrupted life in Plymouth. The government mountain has been very unstable. Businesses are struggling to barely survive and have little to spare to sponsor would-be change agents. Our local media sector is dominated by a government owned radio station. Our main newspaper needs much stronger support from the business and general community. Cable TV is basically escapist or a channel for worrying influences from a world in chaos, and the Internet and social media are notoriously riddled with the crabs in the barrel syndrome.Challenge of Change

The expected future on our business as usual track is not bright.

Warning signs abound, telling us we have to change, change radically through deep reforms carried out before it is too late.

Given that such change will be controversial and likely cuts across the agendas of the entrenched power brokers as well as the comfort zone of the community, that means we have to move to a critical mass approach. That is, we need to find sufficient numbers of people in the right places backed by enough resources to move change ahead even in the face of opposition and even attack.

That starts with a sustained media voice that makes the case for reform before it is too late. It includes a decision to support the newspaper – on paper, online and in social media – and to open up our radio waves and streaming media to a range of voices that can calmly, soundly analyse and explain the facts and concerns. We must justify a shift to a more sound, more sustainable alternative. One, that better and more fairly meets needs today and tomorrow because it is well adapted to our socio-cultural, economic and natural environment trends.

Governance – how the big decisions are made – will need reform, to enhance transparency, accountability, and responsiveness to the needs of the people, especially the at-risk and the marginalised. Also, we must build capacity to carry out a 10 – 20 year transformation strategy under our national vision. To enhance stakeholder consultation, we need an organised community forum. We should pass a charter of commitment to good governance and create a development partnership memorandum of understanding with DFID. One, that sets up a priority initiatives execution unit. That unit will need joint oversight by DFID and our Cabinet, to carry forward an agreed list of “catalytic” development projects on the 10 – 20 year  timeline.  These will spark growth and will strengthen the private sector that can then gradually become the engine of self-sustaining, green growth. Also, further energising the transformation programme.

In short, media, government and business must work together to fulfill our national vision. So, why not now, why not here, why not us?

 

END –

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How can we reform governance (given the “business as usual” challenge)?

BRADES, Montserrat, April 21, 2016 – Last time, we pondered democracy vs “de mock-racy.” So, we must reform governance in the face of the balance of forces that favours “business as usual.” (Or, should that be, march of folly as usual?)de ole dawg - demock-racy

For, folly,  incompetence, envy, selfish ambition, greed, corruption, unsound policy, habitually bad decisions, chaos and poverty are easy to achieve; it is sustainable sound progress under our national vision of a healthy, wholesome, green, God-fearing, soundly democratic, entrepreneurial and prosperous society that is a hard uphill fight. To take up this fight, we need to understand and map out our challenge.

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The seven mountains of influence vision is a good way to do that. We see here seven commanding heights that dominate any community: 1: religion (or religion substitutes), 2: family, 3: education, 4: government, 5: media, 6: the arts and entertainment, 7: business (and its finance and sci-tech underpinnings).

These tend to be unified by a dominant world-view and by the cultural/ policy agenda it grounds. All of this is enforced by dominant power factions sitting in “castles” on the mountains. We can also imagine vents spraying jets of ideas and agendas from these seven mountains,  that then and become a part of the air we breathe. Or yet again, these are like seven pillars that hold up world-views and agendas as a roof which then unifies and protects them. That, then, is how business as usual [BAU] gets entrenched in the community.

But, business as usual has consequences, and may even head over a cliff. So, we can compare it with what a more sustainable alternative [ALT] would be likely to achieve given our strengths and weaknesses [SW] and the factors and trends that shape our opportunities and threats [OT]:

Change Strategy

However, as the seven mountains dominate policy agendas, for an alternative to become credible in policy discussions it has to become established as a significant force on at least two or three of the mountains. There has to be a steady, strong and bold media voice, or the alternative  . . . regardless of how sound it actually is  . . . will be easily drowned out and ignored. Likewise there has to be enough money to back the alternative, so it has to be backed by sufficient support in business and/or government. (Indeed, one reason for democratic, rights-respecting government is that this provides a platform that allows alternatives to be heard and protects the weak from the strong.)

Here in Montserrat we have had seven governments in twenty years since the volcano disaster disrupted life in Plymouth. The government mountain has been very unstable. Businesses are struggling to barely survive and have little to spare to sponsor would-be change agents. Our local media sector is dominated by a government owned radio station. Our main newspaper needs much stronger support from the business and general community. Cable TV is basically escapist or a channel for worrying influences from a world in chaos, and the Internet and social media are notoriously riddled with the crabs in the barrel syndrome.Challenge of Change

The expected future on our business as usual track is not bright.

Warning signs abound, telling us we have to change, change radically through deep reforms carried out before it is too late.

Given that such change will be controversial and likely cuts across the agendas of the entrenched power brokers as well as the comfort zone of the community, that means we have to move to a critical mass approach. That is, we need to find sufficient numbers of people in the right places backed by enough resources to move change ahead even in the face of opposition and even attack.

That starts with a sustained media voice that makes the case for reform before it is too late. It includes a decision to support the newspaper – on paper, online and in social media – and to open up our radio waves and streaming media to a range of voices that can calmly, soundly analyse and explain the facts and concerns. We must justify a shift to a more sound, more sustainable alternative. One, that better and more fairly meets needs today and tomorrow because it is well adapted to our socio-cultural, economic and natural environment trends.

Governance – how the big decisions are made – will need reform, to enhance transparency, accountability, and responsiveness to the needs of the people, especially the at-risk and the marginalised. Also, we must build capacity to carry out a 10 – 20 year transformation strategy under our national vision. To enhance stakeholder consultation, we need an organised community forum. We should pass a charter of commitment to good governance and create a development partnership memorandum of understanding with DFID. One, that sets up a priority initiatives execution unit. That unit will need joint oversight by DFID and our Cabinet, to carry forward an agreed list of “catalytic” development projects on the 10 – 20 year  timeline.  These will spark growth and will strengthen the private sector that can then gradually become the engine of self-sustaining, green growth. Also, further energising the transformation programme.

In short, media, government and business must work together to fulfill our national vision. So, why not now, why not here, why not us?

 

END –