Categorized | Opinions

Why are we where we are?

By Claude Gerald

Make no mistake about it lest you be damned in ignorance forever:  a consistently strong values system is at the root of individual and national progress. It is easily the most enduring element to social progress and the creation of robust pillars for institutional growth and a proud people.

Even the most optimistic observer will attest to the current pall of gloom that blankets this island with respect to its social and economic survival prospects. A stuck-in-gear phenomenon reminiscent of the late eighties Montserrat is being felt but this time, it is more complex, pervasive and interactive.

Unrelated directly to any physical threat from the monster on the hill, this prevailing mental state that makes inert our thinking rests pivotally on how we have evolved and what line of thinking has been fashioning our existence and propelling our behavioural patterns in the now.

Our past has conditioned our present in a way that is hardly realized. The linkage manifests a tight correlation and directional fit notwithstanding our levels of awareness. Past behaviour speaks powerfully in and to the present.

Thus, it is not a sudden phenomenon. Nothing is. There is a cause to any challenge that is faced. Problem solving dictates that you at least identify it or them before you can harness a solution.
No one man or thing is altogether responsible, though some elements, given their length of influence are more blame-worthy than others are, in not holding and propagating, essentially selling a philosophy on life and living, which is copy-able by followers who are easily trainable and impressionable.

The urge with which lower line operators are quick to follow what they believe to be the wishes of their leaders/bosses,  without direct orders, serves to show how it would be, if alert and positive directions were to be trumpeted as part of a wider policy framework for the good of citizens.

I contend that mankind as a biological species in a general sense is more inclined to be lead, to follow rules and take the culture of leadership as natural to their function. But leadership must be strong, though not in itself enough but must be ‘righteous’ as posited by outgoing Prime Minister Patrick Manning reflectively.

Leadership therefore begets its own functioning as a pacesetter for solid decision-making (strength) based on a strong values systems (righteousness) that are replicable across generations of Montserratians.

Victorian values of yesteryear, it is safe to say, have been systematically diluted to effect a values-less construct that has served to compromise and torpedo its way into our collective perspective. As these plummet, a virtue that held and guided patterns of responses and initiatives disappears from the consciousness to become convoluted by a paradigm, which is usually built on what is expeditious, nepotic and thus free of genuine principles.

A recipe for confusion is set up that speaks to placing the covering of one’s rear first and foremost and going along simply to get a long, an expression attributed to the writings of the late  Antiguan thinker, Tim Hector. There is no greater path to social disintegration than through the selfish eyes of leaders, in the broad sense, who openly promote temporary gain as a trade off for the benefits of sustained attention, aimed at coalescing the ingredients for social cohesiveness.

Self becomes the raison d’etre to life and living. A learnt behaviour clearly, with disastrous consequences, if not managed with a balanced perspective.

Guardians of the proper bend the other way, little by little, oblivious to the whirlwind that is being set loose to deprive the soul of its essential vigour, vitality and spiritual connectivity. They respond to the developing culture of situational ethics, a concept that when set in motion multiplies and replicates itself with mind boggling speed, to cancer all vestiges of substance that eventually make skeletons of the whole.

As we allow values to tumble opportunism manifests itself in corruption and its sidekicks. No longer is merit a condition for allocating resources to their highest value. Arbitrariness becomes the rule at play as soon as room for morality as a basis for making decisions is downplayed.

Any wonder that a major consultancy on education identified management as the core of a once glamorous and proud sector! Empirical confirmation only euphemises what we know is transferable to other anaemic areas of public and private lives in a ‘cannot get it right’ volcano socio-economy.

Viewed as a 10 year forward projection, the findings give time to put this sector in the corridor of progress at least. Taken seriously we can begin to effect the crucible of the problem by placing scarce resources in the formative areas of the system and begin to build from the ground up.

Begin to make determined efforts to empower the starters in the school system. They need from early careful and programmed attention by highly select classroom managers, who reflect ideologically the breadth of skills and personal traits that can motivate young minds with the strength and righteousness, akin to Manning and his ilk. We must begin to create elitism by performance in our schools from early.

It is high time that the real causes of the indifferent behaviour at the MSS that centre on appalling standards, mainly from male students be addressed frontally. Why are the drop-out rates so disproportionally high and skewed against teen age boys?  Should we not confront the female/male sex teacher ratios that see women in dominant roles at all levels of the system? A system that gives equal opportunities to create real leaders across sexes and class is long needed.  Must we continue to deny promising students space to show talent by facing an exam-less entry to the Montserrat Secondary School?

And might we not quickly take on the issue of ensuring that whilst we continue to put emphasis on training  in the sectors, that emphases be shifted from CXC based subjects to one where the aptitude of the trainee for the task ahead be given heightened consideration. Suitability for a life task should be the basis for further formal training and improves the prospects of generating a more wholesome product.  Our management of our affairs has been leading to declining values since we continue to lower the bar across the board, obliterating notions of a meritocracy, thinking unwisely that to let go the reins will somehow lead to improvement in some hopeful way.

Growth and progress in nation hood cannot be based on the fickle.  The sooner we come to realize such, the easier it becomes for a values filled lifestyle to inundate our consciousness.

Claude Gerald is a social commentator living on the island of Montserrat. Ceegee15@hotmail.com

Leave a Reply

TMR print pages

Newsletter

Archives

CARICOM – Staff Vacancy

CXC HEADQUARTERS - Executive Search

https://indd.adobe.com/embed/2b4deb22-cf03-4509-9bbd-938c7e8ecc7d

A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Claude Gerald

Make no mistake about it lest you be damned in ignorance forever:  a consistently strong values system is at the root of individual and national progress. It is easily the most enduring element to social progress and the creation of robust pillars for institutional growth and a proud people.

Even the most optimistic observer will attest to the current pall of gloom that blankets this island with respect to its social and economic survival prospects. A stuck-in-gear phenomenon reminiscent of the late eighties Montserrat is being felt but this time, it is more complex, pervasive and interactive.

Insert Ads Here

Unrelated directly to any physical threat from the monster on the hill, this prevailing mental state that makes inert our thinking rests pivotally on how we have evolved and what line of thinking has been fashioning our existence and propelling our behavioural patterns in the now.

Our past has conditioned our present in a way that is hardly realized. The linkage manifests a tight correlation and directional fit notwithstanding our levels of awareness. Past behaviour speaks powerfully in and to the present.

Thus, it is not a sudden phenomenon. Nothing is. There is a cause to any challenge that is faced. Problem solving dictates that you at least identify it or them before you can harness a solution.
No one man or thing is altogether responsible, though some elements, given their length of influence are more blame-worthy than others are, in not holding and propagating, essentially selling a philosophy on life and living, which is copy-able by followers who are easily trainable and impressionable.

The urge with which lower line operators are quick to follow what they believe to be the wishes of their leaders/bosses,  without direct orders, serves to show how it would be, if alert and positive directions were to be trumpeted as part of a wider policy framework for the good of citizens.

I contend that mankind as a biological species in a general sense is more inclined to be lead, to follow rules and take the culture of leadership as natural to their function. But leadership must be strong, though not in itself enough but must be ‘righteous’ as posited by outgoing Prime Minister Patrick Manning reflectively.

Leadership therefore begets its own functioning as a pacesetter for solid decision-making (strength) based on a strong values systems (righteousness) that are replicable across generations of Montserratians.

Victorian values of yesteryear, it is safe to say, have been systematically diluted to effect a values-less construct that has served to compromise and torpedo its way into our collective perspective. As these plummet, a virtue that held and guided patterns of responses and initiatives disappears from the consciousness to become convoluted by a paradigm, which is usually built on what is expeditious, nepotic and thus free of genuine principles.

A recipe for confusion is set up that speaks to placing the covering of one’s rear first and foremost and going along simply to get a long, an expression attributed to the writings of the late  Antiguan thinker, Tim Hector. There is no greater path to social disintegration than through the selfish eyes of leaders, in the broad sense, who openly promote temporary gain as a trade off for the benefits of sustained attention, aimed at coalescing the ingredients for social cohesiveness.

Self becomes the raison d’etre to life and living. A learnt behaviour clearly, with disastrous consequences, if not managed with a balanced perspective.

Guardians of the proper bend the other way, little by little, oblivious to the whirlwind that is being set loose to deprive the soul of its essential vigour, vitality and spiritual connectivity. They respond to the developing culture of situational ethics, a concept that when set in motion multiplies and replicates itself with mind boggling speed, to cancer all vestiges of substance that eventually make skeletons of the whole.

As we allow values to tumble opportunism manifests itself in corruption and its sidekicks. No longer is merit a condition for allocating resources to their highest value. Arbitrariness becomes the rule at play as soon as room for morality as a basis for making decisions is downplayed.

Any wonder that a major consultancy on education identified management as the core of a once glamorous and proud sector! Empirical confirmation only euphemises what we know is transferable to other anaemic areas of public and private lives in a ‘cannot get it right’ volcano socio-economy.

Viewed as a 10 year forward projection, the findings give time to put this sector in the corridor of progress at least. Taken seriously we can begin to effect the crucible of the problem by placing scarce resources in the formative areas of the system and begin to build from the ground up.

Begin to make determined efforts to empower the starters in the school system. They need from early careful and programmed attention by highly select classroom managers, who reflect ideologically the breadth of skills and personal traits that can motivate young minds with the strength and righteousness, akin to Manning and his ilk. We must begin to create elitism by performance in our schools from early.

It is high time that the real causes of the indifferent behaviour at the MSS that centre on appalling standards, mainly from male students be addressed frontally. Why are the drop-out rates so disproportionally high and skewed against teen age boys?  Should we not confront the female/male sex teacher ratios that see women in dominant roles at all levels of the system? A system that gives equal opportunities to create real leaders across sexes and class is long needed.  Must we continue to deny promising students space to show talent by facing an exam-less entry to the Montserrat Secondary School?

And might we not quickly take on the issue of ensuring that whilst we continue to put emphasis on training  in the sectors, that emphases be shifted from CXC based subjects to one where the aptitude of the trainee for the task ahead be given heightened consideration. Suitability for a life task should be the basis for further formal training and improves the prospects of generating a more wholesome product.  Our management of our affairs has been leading to declining values since we continue to lower the bar across the board, obliterating notions of a meritocracy, thinking unwisely that to let go the reins will somehow lead to improvement in some hopeful way.

Growth and progress in nation hood cannot be based on the fickle.  The sooner we come to realize such, the easier it becomes for a values filled lifestyle to inundate our consciousness.

Claude Gerald is a social commentator living on the island of Montserrat. Ceegee15@hotmail.com