Categorized | Features, General

Leadership quality determines happenings on Montserrat

By Claude Gerald

Premier Don Romeo, his administration and assorted advisors seem to be further establishing the notion that reacting to dire situations, is the medium and structure to make decisions.

This model is what is driving the reported wholesale shifting of top level public servants of different postings, with more to come. The public service as an extension and example of governance is beset by gross inefficiencies, arising from but not limited to being over bloated, corrupt in values, leaderless and a perpetual sense of being close to death.

The nature of the public service always is a reflection of life on Montserrat; getting people to improve their work ethic is more difficult than moving them around and that ought to be the real aim.

Like the proponents of medicine, this administration focuses on dealing with symptoms rather than causes and places pretty plasters on gangrenous sores, intending to gain a healthy reputation as problem solvers. It believes sadly that this will drive energy into an investment that continues to suck up much of the island’s human resources and recurrent budget, in employing a near 90% of its labour force: public servants receive much, demand much whilst giving little back. Such a framework is laughably expected to be nurtured from the outside continuously and incrementally, because we are a dependency of a deep pocketed Great Britain!

It must be said that there is no culture of productivity in the Civil Service and that at all levels, much is desired by way of sacrificing for the common good of an economy shattered, not only by the cruelty of nature as such but by our collective responses; in building and maintaining institutions that truly put people first, a catchy and exploited theme of this ruling party; which resonated with a now dejected electorate, still anxious for a better deal to their welfare, given grandiose pledges.

But who is going to inspire this leadership and sell it in tangible ways? All creatures of nature organize with trust worthy leadership that sets a defining pace for its followers. Man is yet to fully understand natural lessons and abide.

Two times former Premier, Reuben T. Meade, from whom much is given and much was expected, drew much fame for articulating the draw-backs of a public service that were hard to maintain and justify. Yet despite his reservations and occasional critical outburst, he presented many an undisciplined budget that favoured bloating the numbers and curry favouring to interest groups; clearly a political survival tactic that discriminated in selection processes to sometimes work in his favour. Reuben T. Meade was not serious about serious Public Sector reform that engaged the many problems and which created many others, in various sectors of island development. Claims of his approving padding of the service with uncertified employees, who remain to haunt effectiveness, will not go away any time soon.

Mr. Meade simply scoffed at the idea of building a meritocracy in the public service, as to do so, would have challenged his do-as-you-please tendencies and hurt his ability to flex his administrative muscles. Mr. Meade nurtured lackeys and giggled at their folly in turn.

Don Romeo is pathetically ill at ease, out of his depth in the hot seat. It compounds his inheritance of chronic public service issues from Reuben T. Meade. Romeo is blissfully comfortable with claiming ignorance of the way of governance, public service culture, rules and regulations and by extension the executive arm of government, comprised mainly of women management, a major problem in and of itself. This will be a central issue for him that requires a new birth, a significant overhaul of himself. Nice boy managers face the ultimate challenge in managing women with assorted ambitions, capabilities and those disguised feelings of dominance. (More on this in a later issue).

By his own admission, continued occupation of the opposition desk was more desirable; Don Romeo was baptized and ganged upon in a House of fire, compliments Premier Meade and his handpicked party affiliate, the Speaker of the House, Teresina Budkin. This otherwise could have empowered him with a steady grasp of public administration issues; however that would not necessarily afford him with more decisiveness or more mettle as leader of government, as those are hardly learnt endeavours.

It will be to his eternal credit if he lasts successfully or last at all given his acknowledged disaffection with the job at the top; recall that party friends’ selected him to be the campaign leader, with no intention of having him take the reins of government. The question is: whether there are welfare gains for the public even if Don’s leadership becomes increasingly untenable.

Various perceptions hold Romeo as being an honest politician who loves the poor and oppressed. Though these are necessary traits, they are far from being sufficient however to lead exemplarily.

One has to look north of us, at the land of ‘wood and water’ and Blue Mountain ganja, to contextualize the meaninglessness of such a reputation, in the high stakes of leadership of a nation. Compared to being ‘like Jesus’, as proclaimed by a doting relative, on Radio Montserrat, in the wake of his party’s victory, Don Romeo is riding a learning curve that is unyielding and unforgiving even for the most popularly elected political representative in our post volcanic history.

Don Romeo after 6 months in office must not only occupy the wheel of state affairs, he must be present in a way that shows some defined measure of control. When leaders of nations are tricked into being shut out of their own cockpits, they become disengaged and will endanger the lives of screaming passengers in any weather. Romeo must quickly drive and drive well, setting a philosophical path of his own, proclaim and sell it and doggedly see it through. Don Romeo must see and act his vision for Montserrat; lest people perish further.

Consensus has its place and he must somehow lead and manage the consensus by astute salesmanship and defining a growth trajectory built on his acclaimed good nature.

With his fellow villager of Salem City, the experienced Reuben T Meade as opposition leader, in his spirited way, choking his confidence and self expression, effectively mauling and twisting his initiatives, Romeo may well wish life was less glaring to allow him to keep both his automatic pilot and flight simulator fully engaged.

Political immaturity will ensure a bumpier ride for us on our road to Neverland.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Claude Gerald

Premier Don Romeo, his administration and assorted advisors seem to be further establishing the notion that reacting to dire situations, is the medium and structure to make decisions.

This model is what is driving the reported wholesale shifting of top level public servants of different postings, with more to come. The public service as an extension and example of governance is beset by gross inefficiencies, arising from but not limited to being over bloated, corrupt in values, leaderless and a perpetual sense of being close to death.

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The nature of the public service always is a reflection of life on Montserrat; getting people to improve their work ethic is more difficult than moving them around and that ought to be the real aim.

Like the proponents of medicine, this administration focuses on dealing with symptoms rather than causes and places pretty plasters on gangrenous sores, intending to gain a healthy reputation as problem solvers. It believes sadly that this will drive energy into an investment that continues to suck up much of the island’s human resources and recurrent budget, in employing a near 90% of its labour force: public servants receive much, demand much whilst giving little back. Such a framework is laughably expected to be nurtured from the outside continuously and incrementally, because we are a dependency of a deep pocketed Great Britain!

It must be said that there is no culture of productivity in the Civil Service and that at all levels, much is desired by way of sacrificing for the common good of an economy shattered, not only by the cruelty of nature as such but by our collective responses; in building and maintaining institutions that truly put people first, a catchy and exploited theme of this ruling party; which resonated with a now dejected electorate, still anxious for a better deal to their welfare, given grandiose pledges.

But who is going to inspire this leadership and sell it in tangible ways? All creatures of nature organize with trust worthy leadership that sets a defining pace for its followers. Man is yet to fully understand natural lessons and abide.

Two times former Premier, Reuben T. Meade, from whom much is given and much was expected, drew much fame for articulating the draw-backs of a public service that were hard to maintain and justify. Yet despite his reservations and occasional critical outburst, he presented many an undisciplined budget that favoured bloating the numbers and curry favouring to interest groups; clearly a political survival tactic that discriminated in selection processes to sometimes work in his favour. Reuben T. Meade was not serious about serious Public Sector reform that engaged the many problems and which created many others, in various sectors of island development. Claims of his approving padding of the service with uncertified employees, who remain to haunt effectiveness, will not go away any time soon.

Mr. Meade simply scoffed at the idea of building a meritocracy in the public service, as to do so, would have challenged his do-as-you-please tendencies and hurt his ability to flex his administrative muscles. Mr. Meade nurtured lackeys and giggled at their folly in turn.

Don Romeo is pathetically ill at ease, out of his depth in the hot seat. It compounds his inheritance of chronic public service issues from Reuben T. Meade. Romeo is blissfully comfortable with claiming ignorance of the way of governance, public service culture, rules and regulations and by extension the executive arm of government, comprised mainly of women management, a major problem in and of itself. This will be a central issue for him that requires a new birth, a significant overhaul of himself. Nice boy managers face the ultimate challenge in managing women with assorted ambitions, capabilities and those disguised feelings of dominance. (More on this in a later issue).

By his own admission, continued occupation of the opposition desk was more desirable; Don Romeo was baptized and ganged upon in a House of fire, compliments Premier Meade and his handpicked party affiliate, the Speaker of the House, Teresina Budkin. This otherwise could have empowered him with a steady grasp of public administration issues; however that would not necessarily afford him with more decisiveness or more mettle as leader of government, as those are hardly learnt endeavours.

It will be to his eternal credit if he lasts successfully or last at all given his acknowledged disaffection with the job at the top; recall that party friends’ selected him to be the campaign leader, with no intention of having him take the reins of government. The question is: whether there are welfare gains for the public even if Don’s leadership becomes increasingly untenable.

Various perceptions hold Romeo as being an honest politician who loves the poor and oppressed. Though these are necessary traits, they are far from being sufficient however to lead exemplarily.

One has to look north of us, at the land of ‘wood and water’ and Blue Mountain ganja, to contextualize the meaninglessness of such a reputation, in the high stakes of leadership of a nation. Compared to being ‘like Jesus’, as proclaimed by a doting relative, on Radio Montserrat, in the wake of his party’s victory, Don Romeo is riding a learning curve that is unyielding and unforgiving even for the most popularly elected political representative in our post volcanic history.

Don Romeo after 6 months in office must not only occupy the wheel of state affairs, he must be present in a way that shows some defined measure of control. When leaders of nations are tricked into being shut out of their own cockpits, they become disengaged and will endanger the lives of screaming passengers in any weather. Romeo must quickly drive and drive well, setting a philosophical path of his own, proclaim and sell it and doggedly see it through. Don Romeo must see and act his vision for Montserrat; lest people perish further.

Consensus has its place and he must somehow lead and manage the consensus by astute salesmanship and defining a growth trajectory built on his acclaimed good nature.

With his fellow villager of Salem City, the experienced Reuben T Meade as opposition leader, in his spirited way, choking his confidence and self expression, effectively mauling and twisting his initiatives, Romeo may well wish life was less glaring to allow him to keep both his automatic pilot and flight simulator fully engaged.

Political immaturity will ensure a bumpier ride for us on our road to Neverland.

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