Saturday, April 10, 2004

St. Lca: Throw out affirmative action

The end of the cold war has nullified the strategic importance of islands such as ours. Many of the First World countries consider Eastern Europe and Africa as the frontline for foreign policy issues and aid to our area has all but dried up. The situation in the Middle East has marginalised us even further. In addition, our situation is compounded by the fact that we have no unique natural resource of value to the world.

No oil, no plutonium, no diamonds. In fact, our only real resource is our people. Most of the problems that exist in the country today stem from the failure of this administration to effectively and efficiently mobilize that resource. The government appears to have gone out of its way to elevate mismanagement to new heights.

If we accept that we are limited in resources, then it is clear that we must use the little that we have to the max if we are to improve the lot of our people.

However, right from the get-go, the Labour Party restricted the use of the talent, expertise, and experience required for nation building by its repugnant policy of affirmative action. Instead of seeking ways of widening the pool of available skills, they weighted it heavily in favor of known supporters and party hacks. Not unsurprisingly, square pegs fill round holes and the double whammy is that the jobs to be done are not getting done, and secondly, we are paying for the privilege of having people in jobs that they cannot do.

In addition, because they have limited their choices, we have the situation where the same individuals sit on several committees and boards. The same thinking is therefore brought to all aspects of our development, and if the thinking is wrong in one sector, more likely it is duplicated in another. We are being cheated of the diversity of thoughts, and the creative solutions they can bring. It is not surprising that the government tries to justify our performance, more likely non-performance, by comparing ourselves to Dominica, and Grenada. We, the once proud leaders of the OECS, are using the performance of the weaker economies as a crutch.
Read the whole piece. It's a fascinating call for the need to develop people as resources. If the cry is heeded, look for dramatic change in the Caribbean.

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