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Forty floating CVs

By Vaneisa Baksh

"I am not going to tell you that I have a CV that is a hundred per cent perfect. There are no CVs that are a hundred per cent perfect."

I listened to the television clip repeatedly; astonishment climbing on top of disbelief to get a better look at this man whose modulated tones conveyed a distinct sense of genteel outrage over suggestions that he might have doctored his CV.

And if Dr Hafizool Ali Mohammed, appointed to sit on the Commission of Enquiry into the 1990 coup attempt, did not see anything wrong or offensive in that calumny (which tars us all), it is probably because he has become so deeply entrenched in the different identities he has created over time, that he is no longer capable of making distinctions between right and wrong; reality and falsehood; or even what might constitute 'normal' practice for a reasonable person (with reasonable morals).

Any or all of which ought to disqualify him from assessing anything on the public's behalf.

The Guardian quoted him as saying, "I have about 40 resumes floating because I am linked to many organisations. I have had many people worked (sic) on my CVs. I can assure you that perhaps none of my CVs are 100 per cent accurate, they are at best 85 to 95 per cent."

The implications of this explanatory statement spread out like one of those inkblot tests.

I still cannot get over the first one, which made me feel that the older I get the more of a social misfit I must be, because I cannot reconcile to this blithe blanket of dishonesty that this person has sought to cast over us all. Speak for yourself here, sir, whoever you are.

I could not imagine wanting any job, any position, so desperately that I would fabricate, embellish or misrepresent anything in the hope of enhancing my chances. Further, did he consider the impact of such an 'all-ah-we-tief' statement on impressionable minds? Given the context of the questions, when he talked about a CV being a hundred per cent perfect, he was not meaning in terms of it being a perfect fit for the job description, he was talking about the accuracy and veracity of information contained therein. Is he saying that it is understood that everyone doctors their CVs? Is he saying then that it is okay to do so? Is he telling a resume writer that flaccid honesty is expected so, go ahead and do a little dance, make a few friends, give a new twist to an old meaning and call that jazzing it up? Is he saying that's ethical and okay?

I am sorry, that is not okay at all.

And for him to go on about his forty floating CVs, none of which can be vouched for in terms of accuracy, one has to wonder what shades of inaccuracies lurk within them. For all you know, reading number one and number 27 might present two altogether different persons. What manner of man entrusts the final word on his CV to other people? Wouldn't he at least look at it before it takes off for some institution's hands?

At best, it suggests carelessness in the attention to detail that cannot possibly be an asset for the position of someone sitting on a commission of enquiry — far less an inquiry that is so deeply complex. Hearing some of the incidents surrounding the 1990 affair has been a sombre and sometime chilling experience that warns us of how long this culture has been savagely corrupt. Nothing has escaped, and nothing will, if we do not find ways to recalibrate our minds.

But to have a man sitting on this commission, who cannot even vouch for his own CVs, whose unapologetic stance communicates that he does not view the nature of the 'inaccuracies' as even slightly unethical, is to pitch us even deeper into our hellhole.

Make no mistake about it, there are many who feel disgusted that this is the type of behaviour exemplified and exonerated by the 'elite' and that we continue to live in a place with one set of pugnacious rules for the underdogs and politically underprivileged and another for the boys' network. This, despite the demigod aspirations of that 1990 madman, was a driving force behind the driving force behind him.

Other commissioners on the inquiry must be hard-pressed to keep their noses to the job at hand in the proximity of such a convoluted colleague. How are they supposed to?

It is not surprising that whether he feels he has been unfairly outed or maligned, he does not think that since he will not refute that his CV is inaccurate, he should simply resign.

It would at least restore some integrity to the process. But he must be too busy with all the organisations he is linked with; perhaps this commission is one little blip on his radar. It's a hustle out there, we know.

Naipaul would have relished creating this character: yet another Trini with the marvellous capacity to make himself up as he goes along.

E-mail: vaneisabaksh@gmail.com

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