Thursday, December 14, 2017

Spilling of oil and blood

FOLLOWING is a press release issued 

yesterday by the Downtown Owners and 

Merchants Association (DOMA).

If it wasn’t so ghastly, we would say that the blood and oil which is being so carelessly spilt in our country at this time would mix well. Both liquids seem to have the same coagulated consistency and both provide a mesmerising contrast of colour and gloss that has often been the subject of artistic interpretation and, indeed, artistic presentation. It is a revolting thought.

Our recent blood and oil spills have seve­ral connections, the most obvious in our mind being the incredible way that so many murders are taking place in broad daylight and are often captured on expensive CCTV (closed-circuit television) equipment but yet no one, not even three or five in 100, can be charged, let alone prosecuted and certainly not convicted for a single murder. 

In a similar way, thousands of barrels of thick, ugly oil wash into our mangroves and rivers, onto our beaches and boats in a period of two weeks, and as of the time of writing of this release, we still have to be told where it came from and who is responsible.

Indeed, to deepen the bizarre but simple correlation between these two grave situations, we need to remind ourselves that in the majority of murders, we are given ample information about this murder being a revenge for that, and this and that investigation being conducted and this or that reprisal being anticipated, but in the end, it fades to a zero result in 96 per cent of the cases. 

In the same way, in the current oil spill scenario, we have been told that investigations are ongoing and a report will be sent to this minister and that chairman—we have even had suspensions and press conferences but still, no one can say where the oil came from and how the leakage was eventually stopped, if it has been stopped at all.

Finally, the most tragic of all the consistencies between the two events seems to be the nonchalant manner in which we are told, as we always are, that it’s no big deal—that the oil spill is not as bad as it appears or, indeed, that serious crime is actually down. 

The common denominator that creates these similarities is the complete absence of any accountability and the continued erosion of what little accountability is left from our pre-Independence days. In the case of murder, there is no consequence for the murderers and no consequence for those who fail to apprehend the murderers—it is a prescription for utter devastation.

The facts should be clear to all those who still have some hope for the future of our coun­try—unless we can make persons responsible for their actions or lack of action, unless we can have a clear description of each job function and promote those who fulfil these jobs and rid ourselves of those who do not, then the murders, road deaths, oil slicks, fabricated contracts, teacher absenteeism and general mayhem are going to continue. Evidence to support this prediction lies in the data and trends that we observe. Indeed, even with the succession of different governments and regimes, the downward spiral persists. 

We are left with the inescapable conclusion that no administration or government can change the current negative trajectory without a total overhaul of the failed management models that govern us. 

In modern management theory, business leaders are envisaged to be problem-solvers —we are taught that the first step in seeking solutions is a careful definition of the problem. In our view, we as a society have spent too many years treating symptoms and we should be convinced that we have not yet defined the real problem, that a society not built on merit and accountability, a society in which performance is not measured or rewar­ded, is doomed to produce the same results that we are presenting at this time. 

Ample proof that we want to treat symptoms is embodied in the preposterous repetition of the call to resume hangings when any simpleton can deduce that in order to hang, we must first arrest and convict.

Any government trying to run a country with our hybrid management systems of “service commissions” and “suspension with full pay” will take us further into the abyss that we see in the vivid images of dead humans and dead birds on our front pages.

A new dynamic leadership prescription is required to rewrite our management and governance models and to infuse our lives with accountability from the highest office to the lowest rung of the national ladder—until such time as this occurs, this association feels that we should, unfortunately, brace ourselves for more of what David Rudder called our “Savagery” or what Peter Minshall portrayed to be “Macabre” in the coming months and years.