Experience is the greatest teacher

Brian FrancisBy Dr. Brian Francis


As I reflect on all of the goings-on in Grenada on the political front with the NNP and NDC, on the economic front with the dismal state of the local economy and the absence of any real leadership on display from the administrative and political ends of the Ministry of Finance, and on the labour front with the games being played by some of our top union leaders at the expense of the workers, I am forced to wonder if as a people we fail consistently to learn from our past actions.

While I am wondering about the answer to that important question, the thought immediately flowed through my mind that experience is supposed to be the greatest teacher; yet, serious doubts now exist in my simple way of thinking about that noble idea – doubts based entirely on the behaviour of our political, economic and trade union leaders on a daily basis.

Take for example, all of the recent pronouncements from our Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in relation to the attraction of foreign investments, works done by his Administration to date, the ability of his Government to secure significant amounts of debt relief from some of the country’s creditors, and the fiscal adjustments necessary to restore internal macro-economic equilibrium to the ailing Grenadian economy and ask yourself whether or not the Prime Minister is governing in 2013 or back in 1995.

You see, even though Grenadians have been put through an extensive period of excellent training and education starting from the Revolutionary era, our Prime Minister still evidently speaks to we the people as if we are all “fools” for want of a more mature expression! Is the Prime Minister learning from past experiences?

Consequently, in my day-to-day dealings, our Prime Minister and Minister of Finance has become, sad to report, totally irrelevant when it comes to the future of the Grenadian economy. To put it bluntly, I have absolutely no confidence in the leadership of our Prime Minister to take Grenada back to the glory days of low unemployment, little inflation (particularly at the micro level), sustainable fiscal and debt positions, sustained levels of economic growth and development, manageable deficits on the external current account, jobs for the massive, and advancements in sports and culture.

And as if that situation is not bad enough, the Prime Minister insists on staying the course with his side-kick in the Ministry of Finance who behaves as if he is untouchable and beyond condemnation. But if the Permanent Secretary in the Finance Ministry wants to behave as if “life is a straight road” then he can continue along his chosen path of taking every commentary about his performance on the job in a personal capacity. Does that bother me? Not one bit!

My unsolicited advice to this gentleman is: Be a real man and act professionally at all times and everything will be fine! Use your intellect, talent, training, education and, above all, experience to respond to criticisms robustly as opposed to personalising everything said not about you as an individual but in relation to your performance on the job!

Remember, experience is the greatest teacher! I have taken that advise myself, so much so that nowadays, I benefit tremendously from my experience in Grenada. As of November 22, 2013 I have no regrets. I am indeed a better man and husband coming out of that experience.

Therefore, any time I find myself in tough circumstances, I draw wisdom from two famous quotes: “He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; and he who dares not is a slave” (Sir William Drummond) and “Why fools are endowed by nature with voices so much louder than sensible people possess is a mystery. It is a fact emphasised throughout history” (Hertzler).

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