Categorized | Features, Local, News, Opinions

Do we need Education or Connection to succeed on a politically insecure Montserrat?

By Claude Gerald

Since people management is a myth on Montserrat, slackness in the Public Sector is chronic and allowed. Friendship and family connections and moral weaknesses run the ball game.

Montserrat is thus soaring high on the corruption index and out-does its own poor standards at each check point. Subtle, persistent and cumulative, it is ruinous potentially.

Agriculture as an example requires a microscope to locate it on the contribution landscape. Grieved undertakers at least 10 years ago, dismissed its existence with last rites.  Permanent Secretary, Agriculture, Eulyn Greaves who energetically flirted between Ministries with aplomb, seemingly cultivating if not manipulating obedient politicians advantageously at will, must disentangle the puzzle as to how her husband, Lorenzo, continues to occupy the comfortable position he has had for a number of years on the technical staff of the Department of Agriculture. (Her son at Lands and Survey now attracts nepotistic queries too)

The fact is he is being made to hide out under the radar, staying low and reap rewards that are not due to him.

It is a choking moral dilemma and neither ignorance nor silence from Mrs. Greaves is countenanced by any means.  Culpability, by aiding and abetting at least, rests in her lap and those with experience and know-how of this matter are crying foul on the issue.

Lorenzo has zero certification in the very basics. He has no requisite training in the science of agriculture and experience prior, to match the position assigned in the Department of Agriculture. His salary and perks additionally, have been higher than other decorated and experienced officers of the last twelve years in his undeserved role. He has been covered by indifferent officials, who continue to look the other way in an apparent grand conspiracy. It is a scandal and a debacle. It is a rogue arrangement.

It should never have been contemplated, in a system with valued standards, or are there? Though one suspects some level of opportunistic and meticulous planning over many years, his positioning is a gut-wrenching portrait of business in our pint–sized volcanic isle. It is way out of line with due processes: highly irregular and easily the most scandalous public service event, amongst many, current in the Ministry of Agriculture, since the narrow-minded splitting of Environment from Agriculture, which signaled the rapid decline of both portfolios.

How did this pass the Public Service Commission and other key personnel that checks and balances? It is tantamount to administrative fraud, designed to give a favored one an unfair advantage in the market place for relevant skills. Lorenzo Greaves, in all likelihood could never have brazenly put forward an application for the job. One is hoping that all relevant records remain intact for certain scrutiny and determination as this one should not and cannot be swept under the table anymore.

He ought to be made to repay British tax payers money along with others, like him who manipulates the public system as glorified water- cart carriers. His excuse is that he did not ask for all this and is well aware and delights in this undeserving gift.

Can Mrs. Greaves any longer conduct her important overarching roles with good conscience and credibility? Questions remain and only a vhands; she most likely cannot be a supporter of schooling and education; and likely to be a hater of academic excellence; reasonably she must be in a world of generalized hypocrisy where narrow personal interest trumps everything else.

Neither can she credibly deny personal knowledge that has sustained this travesty in the processes of public service employment. To whom much is given much is expected; especially given her lead role in youthful Seventh Day Adventism and her staunch, vocal, visible and energetic advocacy of Christian principles, even beyond the Montserrat world. She being at the heights of her present powers, how can public service watchers put confidence in her decision making regarding the just placements of personnel?

Agricultural Science is multidisciplinary and the mother of all sciences. The curriculum at University is intimidating and mindboggling for the range of subjects. It features the pure and applied sciences, the arts, economics and social sciences. It has breadth; it has depth and students are truly tested in that setting.

It thus prepares one for most walks of life. Uncertain teenagers opt for the grounding it gives and then branch elsewhere later; but you have to be academically prepared to enter such an undertaking. For 15 years prior to the volcanic eruption, given the centrality of agriculture to the overall political economy, equipping staff was singled out for special attention. The Department of Agriculture boasted a team of highly trained technicians, many with first and second degrees in the field, outstanding in the OECS, measured per head of population.

Lorenzo Greaves was a hired hand and pound keeper who did not dispose himself to preliminary certification for further training. Management reached out to entice and encourage him to make him eligible. He migrated after the volcanic eruption and returned to operate both a seed and health food store, which evaporated in quick time.

Subtle and direct attempts to get him into the Department failed. Did Mrs. Greaves feature in those? Management at that time bluntly rebuffed the idea, insisting that training would be the first avenue to enter the door of the Department of Agriculture.  Proven experience in the practice of agriculture could get you in: just barely conditionally. To proceed otherwise was to set the bar so low that the educational endeavor from kindergarten would have been a waste of effort.

With a change of technical head the theory behind Lorenzo Greaves’s existence in the Department of Agriculture reads thus:  ‘Lobby to get him in despite his complete lack of credentials. Some mice, in the rare presence of a cat, will hear you; and if one happens to meet an ass, then go riding since no one stands for anything anymore. Play the game and nice up and keep a low profile; show up and be present only when you have to, if at all; production and commitment is unimportant; your swollen salary is sure since prior to the change of government, outgoing powerful politicians, with Salem City attachments would see to your establishment; you are now pensionable at your current salary and you can just glide; the story is over. No fuss. Life could not be easier’.

Easton Farrell Taylor, a lay preacher and the immediate former Minister of Agriculture proved himself a formidable and experienced technician without the academic requirements. He applied self from early. He became the backbone of many outreach efforts for many years and was a household name even beyond the farming community. Management had confidence in him and dispatched him on a special one year program to Guyana to round him off. He was duly promoted to an Agricultural Officer years later.

Sadly he failed to effectively transition to a Minister’s role and no doubt oversaw the dying of the Department of Agriculture and the Environment. He was clearly trapped into allowing Lorenzo in against his better judgment. He sought to wrestle control once revelations were being made especially regarding Lorenzo’s salary but was outdone. He typically lacked the will to stand up to anything not in his personal interests. Now out of office he still frets about the monster of a problem left over by this fly-by-night employee.

By Easton Farrell’s neglect of his core duties the situation was created that allowed Lorenzo Greaves to continue to grade himself annually, rendering himself top marks for his questionable service, and then to have them signed off by a complaining but compliant management; thus cementing his stay in the work place, in a vicious cycle of brazen deception of the system.

How did we reach this stage? Is it that we have a lot of people who go to church, but we do not have a lot of God fearing people? What kind of philosophy can so infect the minds of individuals who lead in our various churches but yet descend to levels that call evil good? Woe to them that call evil good and good evil.” (Isaiah 5:20).

Public sector leaders seem to be polluting their potential to stand for people centered principles, undermining trust in their leadership and dodging responsibility with flippancy.

Which amongst us will elect to watch the watchers? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

Claude Gerald is a social commentator on Montserrat. Ceegee15@hotmail.com

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By Claude Gerald

Since people management is a myth on Montserrat, slackness in the Public Sector is chronic and allowed. Friendship and family connections and moral weaknesses run the ball game.

Montserrat is thus soaring high on the corruption index and out-does its own poor standards at each check point. Subtle, persistent and cumulative, it is ruinous potentially.

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Agriculture as an example requires a microscope to locate it on the contribution landscape. Grieved undertakers at least 10 years ago, dismissed its existence with last rites.  Permanent Secretary, Agriculture, Eulyn Greaves who energetically flirted between Ministries with aplomb, seemingly cultivating if not manipulating obedient politicians advantageously at will, must disentangle the puzzle as to how her husband, Lorenzo, continues to occupy the comfortable position he has had for a number of years on the technical staff of the Department of Agriculture. (Her son at Lands and Survey now attracts nepotistic queries too)

The fact is he is being made to hide out under the radar, staying low and reap rewards that are not due to him.

It is a choking moral dilemma and neither ignorance nor silence from Mrs. Greaves is countenanced by any means.  Culpability, by aiding and abetting at least, rests in her lap and those with experience and know-how of this matter are crying foul on the issue.

Lorenzo has zero certification in the very basics. He has no requisite training in the science of agriculture and experience prior, to match the position assigned in the Department of Agriculture. His salary and perks additionally, have been higher than other decorated and experienced officers of the last twelve years in his undeserved role. He has been covered by indifferent officials, who continue to look the other way in an apparent grand conspiracy. It is a scandal and a debacle. It is a rogue arrangement.

It should never have been contemplated, in a system with valued standards, or are there? Though one suspects some level of opportunistic and meticulous planning over many years, his positioning is a gut-wrenching portrait of business in our pint–sized volcanic isle. It is way out of line with due processes: highly irregular and easily the most scandalous public service event, amongst many, current in the Ministry of Agriculture, since the narrow-minded splitting of Environment from Agriculture, which signaled the rapid decline of both portfolios.

How did this pass the Public Service Commission and other key personnel that checks and balances? It is tantamount to administrative fraud, designed to give a favored one an unfair advantage in the market place for relevant skills. Lorenzo Greaves, in all likelihood could never have brazenly put forward an application for the job. One is hoping that all relevant records remain intact for certain scrutiny and determination as this one should not and cannot be swept under the table anymore.

He ought to be made to repay British tax payers money along with others, like him who manipulates the public system as glorified water- cart carriers. His excuse is that he did not ask for all this and is well aware and delights in this undeserving gift.

Can Mrs. Greaves any longer conduct her important overarching roles with good conscience and credibility? Questions remain and only a vhands; she most likely cannot be a supporter of schooling and education; and likely to be a hater of academic excellence; reasonably she must be in a world of generalized hypocrisy where narrow personal interest trumps everything else.

Neither can she credibly deny personal knowledge that has sustained this travesty in the processes of public service employment. To whom much is given much is expected; especially given her lead role in youthful Seventh Day Adventism and her staunch, vocal, visible and energetic advocacy of Christian principles, even beyond the Montserrat world. She being at the heights of her present powers, how can public service watchers put confidence in her decision making regarding the just placements of personnel?

Agricultural Science is multidisciplinary and the mother of all sciences. The curriculum at University is intimidating and mindboggling for the range of subjects. It features the pure and applied sciences, the arts, economics and social sciences. It has breadth; it has depth and students are truly tested in that setting.

It thus prepares one for most walks of life. Uncertain teenagers opt for the grounding it gives and then branch elsewhere later; but you have to be academically prepared to enter such an undertaking. For 15 years prior to the volcanic eruption, given the centrality of agriculture to the overall political economy, equipping staff was singled out for special attention. The Department of Agriculture boasted a team of highly trained technicians, many with first and second degrees in the field, outstanding in the OECS, measured per head of population.

Lorenzo Greaves was a hired hand and pound keeper who did not dispose himself to preliminary certification for further training. Management reached out to entice and encourage him to make him eligible. He migrated after the volcanic eruption and returned to operate both a seed and health food store, which evaporated in quick time.

Subtle and direct attempts to get him into the Department failed. Did Mrs. Greaves feature in those? Management at that time bluntly rebuffed the idea, insisting that training would be the first avenue to enter the door of the Department of Agriculture.  Proven experience in the practice of agriculture could get you in: just barely conditionally. To proceed otherwise was to set the bar so low that the educational endeavor from kindergarten would have been a waste of effort.

With a change of technical head the theory behind Lorenzo Greaves’s existence in the Department of Agriculture reads thus:  ‘Lobby to get him in despite his complete lack of credentials. Some mice, in the rare presence of a cat, will hear you; and if one happens to meet an ass, then go riding since no one stands for anything anymore. Play the game and nice up and keep a low profile; show up and be present only when you have to, if at all; production and commitment is unimportant; your swollen salary is sure since prior to the change of government, outgoing powerful politicians, with Salem City attachments would see to your establishment; you are now pensionable at your current salary and you can just glide; the story is over. No fuss. Life could not be easier’.

Easton Farrell Taylor, a lay preacher and the immediate former Minister of Agriculture proved himself a formidable and experienced technician without the academic requirements. He applied self from early. He became the backbone of many outreach efforts for many years and was a household name even beyond the farming community. Management had confidence in him and dispatched him on a special one year program to Guyana to round him off. He was duly promoted to an Agricultural Officer years later.

Sadly he failed to effectively transition to a Minister’s role and no doubt oversaw the dying of the Department of Agriculture and the Environment. He was clearly trapped into allowing Lorenzo in against his better judgment. He sought to wrestle control once revelations were being made especially regarding Lorenzo’s salary but was outdone. He typically lacked the will to stand up to anything not in his personal interests. Now out of office he still frets about the monster of a problem left over by this fly-by-night employee.

By Easton Farrell’s neglect of his core duties the situation was created that allowed Lorenzo Greaves to continue to grade himself annually, rendering himself top marks for his questionable service, and then to have them signed off by a complaining but compliant management; thus cementing his stay in the work place, in a vicious cycle of brazen deception of the system.

How did we reach this stage? Is it that we have a lot of people who go to church, but we do not have a lot of God fearing people? What kind of philosophy can so infect the minds of individuals who lead in our various churches but yet descend to levels that call evil good? Woe to them that call evil good and good evil.” (Isaiah 5:20).

Public sector leaders seem to be polluting their potential to stand for people centered principles, undermining trust in their leadership and dodging responsibility with flippancy.

Which amongst us will elect to watch the watchers? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

Claude Gerald is a social commentator on Montserrat. Ceegee15@hotmail.com