Categorized | Editorial, Local, News, Regional

Is that word Mediocrity now synonymous with Montserrat

May 20, 2016

May 20, 2016

An action business coach, Ian Blanchard during a presentation at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s 8th Caribbean Tourism Human Resources Conference, advised, while touching on the topic of mediocrity: “As a Region, we need to move from Mediocrity as a standard. We must DRIVE Leadership Excellence first in ourselves and then in those around us. We must CARE enough to move beyond 5 year perspectives to 20 – 25 year national development plans…”

Seeing the quote above in a short article on the matter drew our attention to the many times this has been addressed by us in different calls to strive for excellence. Of course what we also realise is that few understand that no matter how hard some may try for excellence, if the mediocrity is what reigns, progress will be painful and slow.

Mediocrity, like we have written before here, “…is almost cultural, no progress unless corrected” On July 26, 2013 we wrote on that topic and referred to an ICAI ‘corruption’ report related to Montserrat: “From reports, there is a certain level of mediocrity and even dishonesty from all sides on the issues…” At the time we said we would wait to see what would evolve from that report. In a way, we are still waiting, but it had much to do with the shut-down of the MDC.

This cultural behaviour is now like a plague to Montserrat. It has been spoken about often without actually mentioning the word. When the Her Excellency the Governor noted in a response on the matter of ‘lack of capacity’ she said: “…It’s not only a lack of capacity. There is capacity in some areas but I think some of our systems in either human resources or just our management systems in government are holding some of that back,…the other thing is we need to develop capacity…” She was identifying the mediocrity that is holding back progress.

“How can we better ensure that Montserratians get the quality of service they deserve from their Public Service,” She had asked very early following her arrival, when laying out the focus of her tenure. She had identified, diagnosed the sore. Her predecessor Governor Adrian Davis not long before had alluded to that as well in his parting shots.

In 2013 when Miss Yasmine White, Education Officer responsible for curriculum and exams, announced that students would in future be recognised for good performances she pointed out, “The premise for the recommendation is that the acknowledgement of students’ performance will motivate them to pursue excellence in future aspirations, and at the same time, serve as an incentive to those students coming behind to not settle for mediocrity.”

In Jan 2013 there was a Jus wonderin ‘why we spend so much time praising mediocrity and not strive for excellence.’

In Feb 2014, Miss Shirley Osborne, she didn’t know then that she would before the end of the year become the Hon Speaker of the Legislative Assembly wrote in an article: “Who was it that decided or agreed that the best, and indeed the only feasible (critical) way forward for Montserrat, is a rehash of the time-worn, overused, unreliable and unpredictable tourism, not to mention the destructive and notoriously low-paying cruise ship tourism?

“And who, pray tell, was the bright, creative light who put forward the notion that this uber-well-recompensed Lane Pettigrew banality is an exciting design for a really fabulously modern, Montserratian-friendly and beautiful new town, Portsmouth? for the people of Montserrat?

“Who are these people? And is it true what so many other Montserratian people are saying about them? This mediocrity is It. This is the New, Improved Montserrat…”

In March last year, the Honourable Minister for Youth Affairs Mrs. Delmaude Ryan at a one-week workshop dared the youth to put their skills to the test: “The world needs more business solutions”, she challenged, “you have the answer…and every great successful business started with a step, a move to address a need, a move to fill an economic gap, a move triggered by something deep within which would not settle for mediocrity.”

Then very recently, a former Montserrat politician, Juliette Ceesay wrote in MNIAlive, “The major problem underlying both party system are the “Civil Servants.” Contrary to others who accuse Romeo or Reuben as leaders in running the island, the public servants truly run the island…public servants decide the fate of everyone on the island…Many have no idea the truth of the problems (are) created by the civil servants.” The mindset of individuals in high positions within the government has created so much hate, mistrust, deceit, resentment, and bitterness, that the raging “FIRE” continues. The EGOS and to some extent, the PRIDE of men and women that we have is detrimental to the island. “WHO KNOWS BEST?” – TRUST AND RESPECT is so lacking on the island.”

So there is that word ‘mindset’ again! Is that the clue to the reigning mediocrity, the sore of the island’s progress?

And so we repeat: “We believe that any country that speaks of excellence in any sphere of life or being must accept that ‘the order of good governance’ must exist. Excellence seems unfortunately to be a bad word in Montserrat, because ‘mediocrity reigns’.”

As an addition to the print copy of the newspaper, we add the following, which further highlights the mediocrity which is at rule: “Can the intellectuals of the island both home and abroad find a way to stop the negative bashing and constant chatter and unite in an effort to save the island before it explodes again?”

Claude Gerald reasoned almost nine years ago in 2007, with our concurrence then and now: “We despair about non-nationals filling local positions with fairly sound arguments. Countering such is real easy when at the core we promote mediocrity, a ‘who knows who’ culture based on friendship, family connections and healthy doses of ‘bad mindedness’, he contends.

More to the point at the time and the mistakes now seem ready to be repeated. “We take and select out dead wood and call it good. We discourage production and productivity, accord blessings and approval to social evils, often in stealth and silence, at variance to our hearts. We rail in church and promote our brand of Christianity in the walls of the church with dim light to all men. When we set upside down standards calling evil good, we plant seeds of an impoverished pedigree to continue and propagate societal progress. A travesty of injustice and nepotism follows inexorably ensuring an increasingly corrupt cycle pants on.”

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

May 20, 2016

May 20, 2016

An action business coach, Ian Blanchard during a presentation at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s 8th Caribbean Tourism Human Resources Conference, advised, while touching on the topic of mediocrity: “As a Region, we need to move from Mediocrity as a standard. We must DRIVE Leadership Excellence first in ourselves and then in those around us. We must CARE enough to move beyond 5 year perspectives to 20 – 25 year national development plans…”

Seeing the quote above in a short article on the matter drew our attention to the many times this has been addressed by us in different calls to strive for excellence. Of course what we also realise is that few understand that no matter how hard some may try for excellence, if the mediocrity is what reigns, progress will be painful and slow.

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Mediocrity, like we have written before here, “…is almost cultural, no progress unless corrected” On July 26, 2013 we wrote on that topic and referred to an ICAI ‘corruption’ report related to Montserrat: “From reports, there is a certain level of mediocrity and even dishonesty from all sides on the issues…” At the time we said we would wait to see what would evolve from that report. In a way, we are still waiting, but it had much to do with the shut-down of the MDC.

This cultural behaviour is now like a plague to Montserrat. It has been spoken about often without actually mentioning the word. When the Her Excellency the Governor noted in a response on the matter of ‘lack of capacity’ she said: “…It’s not only a lack of capacity. There is capacity in some areas but I think some of our systems in either human resources or just our management systems in government are holding some of that back,…the other thing is we need to develop capacity…” She was identifying the mediocrity that is holding back progress.

“How can we better ensure that Montserratians get the quality of service they deserve from their Public Service,” She had asked very early following her arrival, when laying out the focus of her tenure. She had identified, diagnosed the sore. Her predecessor Governor Adrian Davis not long before had alluded to that as well in his parting shots.

In 2013 when Miss Yasmine White, Education Officer responsible for curriculum and exams, announced that students would in future be recognised for good performances she pointed out, “The premise for the recommendation is that the acknowledgement of students’ performance will motivate them to pursue excellence in future aspirations, and at the same time, serve as an incentive to those students coming behind to not settle for mediocrity.”

In Jan 2013 there was a Jus wonderin ‘why we spend so much time praising mediocrity and not strive for excellence.’

In Feb 2014, Miss Shirley Osborne, she didn’t know then that she would before the end of the year become the Hon Speaker of the Legislative Assembly wrote in an article: “Who was it that decided or agreed that the best, and indeed the only feasible (critical) way forward for Montserrat, is a rehash of the time-worn, overused, unreliable and unpredictable tourism, not to mention the destructive and notoriously low-paying cruise ship tourism?

“And who, pray tell, was the bright, creative light who put forward the notion that this uber-well-recompensed Lane Pettigrew banality is an exciting design for a really fabulously modern, Montserratian-friendly and beautiful new town, Portsmouth? for the people of Montserrat?

“Who are these people? And is it true what so many other Montserratian people are saying about them? This mediocrity is It. This is the New, Improved Montserrat…”

In March last year, the Honourable Minister for Youth Affairs Mrs. Delmaude Ryan at a one-week workshop dared the youth to put their skills to the test: “The world needs more business solutions”, she challenged, “you have the answer…and every great successful business started with a step, a move to address a need, a move to fill an economic gap, a move triggered by something deep within which would not settle for mediocrity.”

Then very recently, a former Montserrat politician, Juliette Ceesay wrote in MNIAlive, “The major problem underlying both party system are the “Civil Servants.” Contrary to others who accuse Romeo or Reuben as leaders in running the island, the public servants truly run the island…public servants decide the fate of everyone on the island…Many have no idea the truth of the problems (are) created by the civil servants.” The mindset of individuals in high positions within the government has created so much hate, mistrust, deceit, resentment, and bitterness, that the raging “FIRE” continues. The EGOS and to some extent, the PRIDE of men and women that we have is detrimental to the island. “WHO KNOWS BEST?” – TRUST AND RESPECT is so lacking on the island.”

So there is that word ‘mindset’ again! Is that the clue to the reigning mediocrity, the sore of the island’s progress?

And so we repeat: “We believe that any country that speaks of excellence in any sphere of life or being must accept that ‘the order of good governance’ must exist. Excellence seems unfortunately to be a bad word in Montserrat, because ‘mediocrity reigns’.”

As an addition to the print copy of the newspaper, we add the following, which further highlights the mediocrity which is at rule: “Can the intellectuals of the island both home and abroad find a way to stop the negative bashing and constant chatter and unite in an effort to save the island before it explodes again?”

Claude Gerald reasoned almost nine years ago in 2007, with our concurrence then and now: “We despair about non-nationals filling local positions with fairly sound arguments. Countering such is real easy when at the core we promote mediocrity, a ‘who knows who’ culture based on friendship, family connections and healthy doses of ‘bad mindedness’, he contends.

More to the point at the time and the mistakes now seem ready to be repeated. “We take and select out dead wood and call it good. We discourage production and productivity, accord blessings and approval to social evils, often in stealth and silence, at variance to our hearts. We rail in church and promote our brand of Christianity in the walls of the church with dim light to all men. When we set upside down standards calling evil good, we plant seeds of an impoverished pedigree to continue and propagate societal progress. A travesty of injustice and nepotism follows inexorably ensuring an increasingly corrupt cycle pants on.”