Kenny settles leadership question!

Centre 2


It’s no easy matter figuring what’s in our prime minister’s head just by listening to his words—whether he’s delivering one of his advertised English-Creole addresses to the nation or mooching for more one-time Taiwanese “dirty money,” or faking exuberance for the arcane purposes of “non-traditional friends.”

Every other bon mot out of his mouth seems to recall Humpty Dumpty’s famous line about the meaning of words.

Then there’s his legendary penchant for ambiguity. It’s almost as if our bilingual prime minister, a former school principal and a professional lecturer, dare not trust himself to issue a sentence that cannot be interpreted five different ways.

Then again, he is a career politician. Speaking in tongues is as natural to the breed as are forked tongues to creepy-crawly reptiles.

Consider his recent address before a specially invited group that included a retired Bridgeport, Connecticut police commissioner and a New York City police department chief. (Was their stated purpose here really to lecture—irony of ironies—on “Crime Reduction Strategies and Democratic Policing: Respect For Community and Human Rights?” I mean, really?)

Also at the Bay Gardens commingling were U.S. representatives of the event’s co-sponsors, Monroe College and the King Graduate School of New York.

Just in case there were in his audience some who considered his presence at the Caribbean Leadership Forum somewhat anachronistic, if not downright embarrassing, the prime minister sought from the get-go to dispel such counterproductive notions. He had accepted from Monroe College the invitation to address the gathering “because the question of leadership remains one of the enigmatic solutions and challenges in our region.”

Dear reader, feel free to read into that what you will.  I’ve returned to it three or four times and still it makes no sense to me. Doubtless the holders of the prime minister’s prestigious Best Brains Award will have little difficulty appreciating the hidden power in each of the quoted nuggets, and may well have devoted several tax-funded hours prospecting for them.

Nevertheless, at the risk of sounding like the untutored little boy in Hans Christian Anderson’s legendary tale about a certain flasher-emperor, I continue to be at a loss what the prime minister meant when he told his Bay Gardens audience  “the leadership question” remains among our region’s “enigmatic solutions and challenges.”

I need ask, if only for my own edification, what was the leadership question our prime minister referred to? Is there a leadership question unanswered? Isn’t the indisputable proof all around us, that our chief problem, at any rate in Saint Lucia, is not so much economic as it is visionless leadership?

Hasn’t our prime minister acknowledged this by his recent establishment of a tax-funded vision commission? And before him, the venerable Venner?

Did the prime minister really mean to say we are plagued by solutions that are “enigmatic?”  How do you tell regular solutions from “enigmatic” ones? Undeniably, we face seemingly insuperable challenges. For all I know, some may indeed be “enigmatic.”

But how and when did “the question of leadership” in the region become a challenge at once “mysterious, puzzling, difficult to understand?”

So now, let’s move from gibberish to, well, more gibberish: “We have very scarce resources, little land mass, no natural resource except our land, the sea and our sun, and this places special burdens and responsibility on small islands as well. And when
you add to this the fact that we are extremely vulnerable, then the options to leadership becomes even more challenging.”

I dare the Best Brains Award holders and the UWI-decorated word mechanics who put this puppy together to unravel a message from the above-quoted potpourri.

Perhaps a close-up examination might be useful: “We have very scarce resources . . .”

Does that mean the resources we have are limited? Or that we have resources so rare they may be found—as Superman alone knew when he needed the rarest of gifts for Lois Lane—only at the summit of Gros Piton?

Despite the shaky opening, the prime minister did acknowledge the indisputable: we are a nation confronted by crises that require strong, purposeful and courageous leadership. “But,” added the prime minister in need of a national vision, “the mistake is to assume that the leadership solution is simply about politicians and those elected to the top.”

Moreover: We are a people “famous for passing the buck. Perhaps, if we might play less the prevailing Caribbean tradition of passing blame to the next level or to the next functionary, we might make a major shift in attitudes to leadership. The question is this: how do we alter the inherited culture of governance?”

How indeed, without confirming our alleged reputation for buck passing? Well, first we might turn to our vision commission and the other declared nation’s best brains. Alas, shockingly the prime minister had himself earlier identified the following “fascinating irony: The more degreed persons in our midst, the greater the cry for leadership. Why?”

Here was “a conundrum” he teased his audience to speculate on “because I think about it all the time, and I ask myself what is missing.”

Might the answer be sincerity? Consistency? For several years the prime minister dumped on Richard Frederick layer upon lay of dirt, labeled him in such fashion that few were surprised to learn the U.S. Embassy had finally determined the Castries MP and lawyer unfit to set foot on American soil.

Indeed, the prime minister had declared Frederick “a most frightening prospect” and “the worst thing to happen to politics in Saint Lucia.” In fact, as I write, there is a long-pending lawsuit in the prime minister’s name against Frederick.

Then there was Vaughan Lewis whom the prime minister described in his seminal book At the Rainbow’s Edge as mendacious, untrustworthy, talentless, vindictive, profligate, wasteful of public funds inter alia. Ironical, the prime minister had also successfully sued Lewis for libel, not the other way around.

His party, during its most recent election campaign, referred to the day’s sitting prime minister as “de lyin’ King,” uneducated, unfit for office, a self-serving disseminator of flawed statistics, and an endorser of criminality.

All of which most of the nation evidently believed to be true, judging by the result of the 2011 general elections. How confusing then, that the above-mentioned have since either been handed top jobs in their former tormentor’s administration, or been imbued with new respect, or declared oracular and altogether worthy of applause whatever they might say in parliament.

As if further to confuse things, at the Bay Gardens get-together the prime minister, who has yet to come clean before the nation on everything he alone knows about Grynberg and Frenwell, acknowledged: “We know that leadership cannot be truly effective without accountability. Leaders cannot know their true worth without knowing how well they perform!”

There’s more: “This is a real challenge for Caribbean societies. In many, or perhaps even in most institutions, the lines or modes of accountability are blurred. In some, accountability may not exist at all. It simply is not part of the culture of governance.”

Did his new wisdom come to him gift-wrapped courtesy his vision commission, a conspicuous member of which is his former wife?

Say no more!

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7 Responses to Kenny settles leadership question!

  1. SLU #1 says:

    We call this type of “leadership” upon ourselves when we attend their political rallies, cheering, laughing at silly attacks on opposing politicians, and getting drunk while eating greasy chicken from Van-tucky. I saw the true colours of Kenny and his fellow club members soon after the 1997 elections and I vowed NEVER to vote Labour again. We the people NEVER challenge the gov’t on real matters at election time, we simply accept the rubbish being spewed from political platforms. @ Jaden, I quite agree that the hefty salaries paid to the numerous consultants and ambassadors should be exposed, but it should be done by the opposition. The question is who will be brave enough to do it…

  2. cswaerospace says:

    Leadership is; The admission and recognition of one’s own shortcomings to provide meaningful solutions and the moral and spiritual willingness to step forward alone in setting the example to embrace the practical applications of Scriptural Principles of Governance.

    Without this Saint Lucia will remain leaderless, vision less and lost.

    • Fer De Lance says:

      Leadership is a lie, nobody can lead your life since even the leaders are blindly lost. Stop fooling the people to be idiots who follow bullshit from people who know nothing of life. You are terrified into thinking that without the vampire politicians life is a crisis, but the reality is that the crisis is always manufactured in order to exploit your cowardly mind.

  3. galanjoseph says:

    Isn’t the Prime Minister’s Wife (St. Lucia’s First Lady) the UN representative on the Human Rights Commission to the Caribbean? Al friends in high places who don’t do anything. Rick please ask her what does she have to say or report to the UN on our Human Rights record considering she surported firing the UWI lecturer whilst a government headed by her husband is under a Human Rights dark cloud. Some of the alleged violations did occur under his administration- a Chadan Report & Police Report promised promised months ago…..

  4. Jaden says:

    UWP please make an ad showing the number of consultants that Labar hired and their salaries. Please show the salaries of all ambassadors – what’s their job anyway? Show a then and now scenario of ministerial salaries. Let the people see the crap that this govt is doing and that’s the reason WE ARE NOT GOING TO ACCEPT ANY PAY REDUCTION. Kenny acts like a damn slave owner – look at how he hooked up all his family, look at Alva…15 years ago a regular ‘Laborie boy’, now he is so full of it and PIP – arrogant like rass…YOU ALL NOT GETTING MY VOTE AGAIN, THATS FOR SURE.
    I work with govt, I SEE what’s going on…These ppl at the top do not make sacrifices and they expect us to? Take for example, a…

  5. Anon says:

    What a load of codswallop from the PM! Does he know what he means? I doubt it.

  6. Fer De Lance says:

    Kenny’s only vision is a road that leads to a fridge filled with all sorts of meat, cakes, jams, white breads and over fried tuna. His only solution that his better brain can comprehend is how to borrow the country into helplessness. It would seem to me that anyone who studies economics is a witch doctor, because it’s all voodoo.

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