THE EDITOR: Reflection has caused me to see the flaws of our people and consecutive political administrations in this nation.
Lack of oversight in our public service institutions and on our part is one problem I can readily identify.
Our culture has always encouraged us to believe that if something is working why try to maintain it, fix it, or improve it. Clearly, if we have to be more effective as a nation, we will have to pay more attention to the imperative of oversight.
Having interacted institutionally and individually with people almost all of my life, I am always left amazed at how people’s personalities and egos – as well as their lack of capacity in terms of empathy, compassion, and emotional intelligence – can inject problems into institutions, people’s behaviour, and needs.
Another problem is located at the levels of management, supervision, leadership, policy formulation, monitoring, and evaluation – both in the private and public sectors.
Now, I am not spending time on this letter because I feel to write. I am writing because I see the identified shortfalls as seriously impacting the morale, effectiveness, efficiency, civil reaction of our citizens, and the institutional, committed, and productive behaviour of our labour force.
Indeed, I continue to wonder why we are always so eager to rattle out so much statistical data to prove our point. We share data, very often unable to appreciate and understand its social significance and implications. Some of this data include:
* What kind of human resources exist in the country.
* How we really educate our people and in what manner and at what costs.
* What inventories we have of the different knowledge bases and traditional skills in this country.
* How our people’s knowledge systems and skills are affected by market, economic, and social trends.
* How our people differ demographically in communities, classes, ages, and gender.
* What the social and cultural attributes, expectations, aspirations, and dreams of our diversified people are.
* How the people in our society live and die.
I have been thinking about these issues for years, but covid19 has forced me to revisit them.
By way of conclusion, I now ask:
* How can a queen many centuries ago ask a protesting people to eat cake if they have no bread?
* How in this modern technologically oriented and literate society can policy planners consider as non-essential tyre repair shops, mechanic shops, car parts businesses, bookstores, and computer stores?
My immediate answer is simple. Innovation, creativity, common sense, and analysis are not necessarily universal among our educated elites. Our education system has generated a tradition of embracing the need to be good at qualifying for certification – not on how we can apply knowledge learnt to solve our problems.
However, covid19 has taught me that unless we change our mindset, we will become powerless in a rapidly changing world.
RAYMOND S HACKETT