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All Vincentians should be given an equal chance to employment!

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Fri, Sept 30. 2011

Editor: I have a bleak view about the direction in which St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been thrust, by its custodians, since the turn of the century. Indeed, the practice of awarding jobs and perks in exchange for political patronage has created a political chasm of seismic proportion.{{more}} The effect is especially felt along the yellow bank of the political divide where Vincentians are treated like illegal immigrants.

Is the expertise of the Prime Minister as a political scientist effectively utilized in the interest of national development or political partisanship? It is certainly not in the country’s best interest that a regionalist and progressive leader like Dr Gonsalves has allowed himself to be absorbed in the malaise of chauvinistic Vincentians whose primary objective is to consolidate their positions at the state’s expense. Presenting cronies with top executive positions instead of meritorious appointments has ushered in a myriad of misfits with pitiable managerial and leadership skills.

This seed of national discord sown has been bearing fruits that are not palatable for Vincentian consumption. Evidence of this is underscored in the numerous cases of financial misconduct and pillaging among various government sectors. The breakdown in organisational structure in many public institutions bears testimony to failed administrative procedures. The divestment of the lone state-owned commercial bank to St Lucian holdings and the leasing of the government’s Foodcity point more to gluttonous gravy train lickers rather than political tact.

No true Vincentian can ignore the general breakdown in relations among government workers throughout the state. Indeed, it is human to react to inept cronies being placed in various managerial posts to which incompetence often leads to a fall in production. This phenomenon has also ushered in a culture of mistrust and contempt among workers as colleagues jockey for positions at the expense of goodwill and camaraderie. No wonder snitching and backstabbing have become a prerequisite for upward mobility.

Additionally, the misuse of public funds, stealing of government property and the general breakdown in laws and values are synonymous with many public sector workplaces. Why should Vincentians spend their lives living political colours? Even menial jobs such as road work and the solid waste garbage disposal system along with the Youth Empowerment Programme (YES) are not spared the wrath of direct political interference. Party affiliation should NEVER be a criterion for awarding any Vincentian a job!

In fairness to the Chief Personnel Officer Tyronne Burke, he is by nature a good man, but it is unfortunate that he is forced to make many political decisions which are against his nature. However, Mr Burke did not attain the job under duress, so he knew beforehand what would be the dynamics of the job.

Are we sending the best possible Vincentian labour force out to work or are we satisfied in rewarding political patronage?

Mindful of the possible repercussions, I pen these concerns because I am a deeply convicted Vincy who upholds the adage that all Vincentians should be given an equal opportunity to contribute to national development. Remember, the United Nations Charter decreed that all humans of whatever colour, race or creed should be born with the equal privileges enjoyed by all. We should endeavour to coexist as a nation despite political coloration.

Collin CA$H Haywood

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