Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The colour yellow

Keith Subero logo47

Mark Fraser

For my own clarity, I painted the jump in the Prime Minister’s approval rating from 37 to 48 per cent yellow. Why? Because I discovered that I arrive at conclusions only after one fact is compared with other distinctive facts.

The PM said she was humbled by the conclusion, but in precision journalism practitioners are warned to verify the pollster’s methodology, and that the numbers are reliable, solid and real. I have no reason to question either, but speculative questioning does have legitimate uses.

I am neither anti-scientific, nor am I seeking to twist a given “is” into a “what ought to be” but there is always room for speculation, observation, other interpretations.

In a radio interview last week, Nigel Henry, CEO of Solution By Simulation, could offer no exact reason for the increase, and admitted he was left, just like me, to speculate on the 11-point jump.

He could offer only that the public might have interpreted the PM as a bold, decisive leader because she released two ministers in quick succession.

But was that bold decisiveness or was it just another example of her management by “vaps”?

Confronted, publicly, with corruption allegations in the Life Sport Programme — which the National Security Minister said he brought to her National Security Council some time ago — we discovered not the PM’s decisive leadership, but procrastination.

Where is the decisiveness needed in the current controversy which suggests that a member of her cabinet has been caught in a video with marijuana in a hotel room with women?

For some ten days, this video has been demanding the PM’s decisiveness. She is yet to speak directly to our schoolchildren and sports people giving reminders on the dangers of drug abuse.

Her response has been tepid; she says lamely that the COP must take action first — conveniently ignoring that she has responsibility for cabinet appointments.

Now another tape has emerged, with the speaker sounding similar to a recently-appointed cabinet member, thrashing her government for alleged corrupt practices. So informed, what will tourists think?

We looked for the PM’s decisiveness in the foreign exchange crisis that the Central Bank, under her appointee, Governor Jwala Rambarran, has created by switching to a new distribution system.

Instead, the Finance Minister is promoting his answer — a US$200 million injection into the market, but his credibility is on the line. The First Citizens IPO scandal, and the international downgrading of the bank, has meant a loss of his public goodwill.

This may deteriorate even further as he pursues the Government’s stealthy agenda to re-colonise T&T, through the sale of Clico to foreigners and selected locals.

Valpark and Atlantic plazas were sold secretively; investors are awaiting furtive proposals to sell off Angostura, Colfire and Home Construction.

Government decisiveness simply means allowing specific businesses and constituents to become amoral profit machines.

Its decisiveness is seen in the Tertiary Education Minister’s proposal to provide tablet computers to all students at university level, revealed at the time the Education Minister announced a $10 million repair bill for the laptops granted to SEA pupils.

Decisiveness should have been in the announcement of the real beneficiaries of the SEA pupils’ laptop programme and the name of the senator whose legal firm has enjoyed the contact.

But it has meant that even before the proposal went to cabinet, the PM decisively committing her cabinet’s approval.

Decisiveness has meant that instead of fixing the broken health care system, the Minister of Health committed the Government to a multi-million external-patient programme which will bring handsome profits to certain doctors and private hospitals.

Why the colour yellow? My socio-political views are colour-blind, but the unquestionably blind are now very nervous in their attachment.

Eh, Sat?

Keith Subero, a former Express news editor, has since followed a career in communication and management