THE EDITOR: At last someone has the mettle to speak out about the level of disrespect which people of this country show to their fellow citizens, more so those in authority.
I emphatically agree with Dr Hollis Liverpool and the sentiments expressed in his two-part Newsday article on September 4 and 5, “Respect for PhDs? Heroes of Academia.” Like everything else in this country, we do not take time to learn basic bits of information that can enhance our psyche and the way we operate and treat other people.
I am thankful to Liverpool for the enlightening words re holding a doctorate, highlighting the holder’s commitment and contribution to his/her field of education. I especially appreciated the chiding of those who he referred to as “most of these rude and crude campaigners,” quite rightly describing them as having “never written an academic paper, far more for a dissertation.”
However, the efforts expended to get that information out there might be wasted, as those who should read this to gain the knowledge (and I do not mean the “small man” alone) never read, never listen to informative documentaries, are always talking and never listening, etc. How will they know?
I was especially impressed with how Liverpool spoke of level of competence and mastery demonstrated, as well as supervision by specialised consultants, as I know this is what exist. Maybe this is not known, or according to Trini parlance, who cares?
I can sensitively identify with these thoughts. Why? Recently, when working with people in academia, I prepared in detail some documents of the standards I know; those of a person whom Liverpool so aptly described.
To my dismay, one person asked me, “You did that?” The person did not have a clue of the level of ignorance displayed with that simple question. Mind you, this was not a person I met on the street or a mentally-challenged individual. This was a person very high in academia, with all mental faculties intact.
Thus, I am not surprised how people at all levels of the society continue to disrespect the Prime Minister, refer to the Commissioner of Police as Gary. We wonder why this country is as it is, and we continue to blame the young people.
To Liverpool’s extensive explanation on the method of acquiring a doctoral award, I said, “Well put!” I then asked, “Does that matter to them? Have they understood what he explained?” Based on my experience I got the response that there is no interest. For in the very recent past, on two occasions when I had to sign documents at certain institutions, the attendants had the nerve to ask me, “You are a doctor? You are Dr Smart?” All I did was presented my national ID, calmed myself and said, “Thank God for Jesus!” If the ID had my entire academic achievements, perhaps they would have called in the police.
“Ethics,” a thorough examination, Liverpool knows what it entails. I had to go through this as well, so I know the stringent details associated with the process. But I stopped to ask, “Is this word a part of the vocabulary of my fellow citizens in academia, government, in opposition, in the school system, in business, etc?” No wonder the level of disrespect spewed verbally at the Prime Minister, shown to a person’s accomplishments, to fellow citizens.
As a sober, somewhat right-thinking citizen, I believe it is important now more than ever that people change their attitude to authority and to each other. It is the most appropriate time to do some retrospection and introspection, now that covid19 has caused us to “enter into our chambers, and shut the doors about us; and hide ourselves for a little moment” (Isaiah 26: 20 [in parts]).
Thank you, Dr Liverpool!
DR MERLYN SMART