Meritocracy trumps political loyalty

Steve Alvarez -
Steve Alvarez -

THE EDITOR: It is extremely dangerous to place incompetent personnel in key management positions.

Recently, one of the businesses affected by the flooding along Abattoir Road asked me to help in dealing with the problem.

After visiting the area, it was clear that the water was not draining off, as the catchment basin constructed in that area, almost ten years ago, was not maintained.

Similarly, the culverts were all clogged and there was simply no place for the water to go. The Dry River, a mere 100 metres away, was not flooded, but there was simply no infrastructure in place to channel the water to the wide, unkempt Dry River.

It must be noted that that area, which was prone to flooding, had not experienced flooding for years after the catchment basin was built.

One might ask, why do we struggle with maintenance? Why are our waterways not routinely cleaned and drains cleared?

Why are our public buildings not painted, washed and roofs repainted and repaired on a scheduled basis?

The answer is simply that we put key management personnel in positions not on the basis of on competence but political affiliation.

People employed on the basis of political connections are not motivated to perform, as they know their main objective is to remain loyal to the party that afforded them the opportunity to occupy a key management position.

In such a scenario, it does not matter how much one explains that water distribution is best done with a gravity system augmented by pumps to the storage areas; they will simply be ignored.

It is no surprise, therefore, that simple things like maintaining pumps, filling potholes, repainting and repairing bridges, cleaning, and maintaining public buildings and allowing citizens the use of non-lethal weapons like Tasers will not be initiated or expedited.

Should anyone be surprised that procurement legislation debated and passed remains still to be proclaimed?

Square pegs in round holes seem to be accepted by most of us, as there is an understanding that competence is not a major factor in one getting a political appointment or senior government management job. One must simply have the correct political connection.

Consequently, the quality of life that is possible in a rich, literate country with tremendous resources like ours will remain but a dream never to be realised, until the people decide to vote for competence.

The ultimate decision on who manages the affairs of our country lies with the ordinary person and his or her desire to place merit ahead of political loyalty.


Port of Spain


"Meritocracy trumps political loyalty"

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