Thinking and learning about appointments

A new Government will set-up itself through a series of appointments. Therefore, appointments tell a powerful story about the intentions and plans of a Government. They disclose and foretell much of what can be expected of and with the particular Government.

You may well find it very revealing to conceive of appointments through its various species, namely;

i. Appointments (pure and in order)

ii. Re-appointments (being appointed for another time, perhaps after retirement or dismissal, as in the case of persons at the National Lotteries Authority, via political fiat)

iii. Non-appointments (not giving an appointment that was expected)

iv. ‘Un-appointments’ (taking away a subsisting appointment)

v. Dis-appointments (those unhappy with the job they got)

vi. Attempted appointments (efforts to appoint that are thwarted by others having the power to do so)

vii. Unofficial or hidden appointments

Since February 19, 2013, we have had interesting examples under each of these classifications that are worthy of consideration. If you were to review them closely, you will find that five (excluding the first and the last) of these may well prove to be the source of serious internal problems for the NNP as Government and as Party.

On this occasion, with the Treasury broke and the gravy train lengthened by the perceived need to reward ‘THE INCLUSION’, many hardcore NNP-ites will not get fed at the delivery table. Thousands of young people will also become ‘disappointed’ as they realise that delivery is really far, far, far away! Can you envisage the results the electorate will deliver at the next polls?

Just for a moment, liken the typical government set-up to that of your favourite Supermarket. Notice that just as the supermarket sells more than food, so too, the government undertakes more than projects.

Consider what you will find at your supermarket and, as you do so, recognise the similarities that obtain with government.

Here are some of what you will find:

i. Self-help (customers helping themselves to what they want/party members and supporters literally ‘taking’ public property)

ii. Social interactions among people of all walks-of-life (same in government)

iii. Good products and not so good products (progressive policies and failed policies in government)

iv. Paying for goods taken (paying debts for monies borrowed)

v. Delivery bays (people receiving what they have been told to expect, or experiencing short delivery, late delivery or no delivery of the expected goods, jobs or contracts. Get the picture?)

vi. Revenue inflows and expenditure outflows

vii. Petty theft/shop-lifting (stealing of supplies or using government vehicles for personal purposes)

viii. White collar crimes ( corruption in high places)

ix. Employment (hiring and firing of staff; rewards for special personal favours; for example, appointments as Directors to Boards of Statutory Bodies and arbitrary promotions; job-retention for political stooges and grasshoppers)

So if we were to combine the two structures, we will find a high level of public interest, expectations, interactions and intrigues in operation on a daily basis. When the supermarket is badly managed, with poor sales, no new goods coming in and high overheads, the business goes bankrupt!

In government, when policies fail and certain practices cheat and impoverish the Treasury, and when jobs and contracts don’t get delivered, the ruling party gets voted out of Office.

The temptation to examine the unfolding conduct of the new Government through its appointing function/mandate cannot be resisted, for it is already telling a very interesting and dramatic story of the directing mind of the Government, its intentions and its goals.

Let us examine some of the recent appointments. For this purpose, we will put them into clusters and draw out the intrigue and drama behind and within them. You could go further if you wish to do so.

Firstly, we look at appointments to the Diplomatic Corps. Straight away, you see that the Minister of Foreign Affairs most likely did not and could not have had any say, nor did he concerning the appointment of Karl Hood to China, Hadeed to Venezuela, Whiteman to the UK or Derek James as Honorary Consul-General in New York.

By the way, is it factual that the US State Department has not given approval for that particular appointment? If that is true (a case of an attempted appointment), then the new Government must have thought it unnecessary to do any due diligence before proposing the particular candidate.

Might this be a situation where the newly-beloved leader simply took the word of “THE INCLUSION” as reliable and sufficient?

So if Minister Steele was an onlooker in the process, who really made those appointments? Poor Steele, he has already begun to learn that in some important matters it is the Prime Minister who calls the shots. Certainly, that would be an unaccustomed state of affairs for Mr Steele as owner and Managing Director.

Nonetheless, he will do well not to take offence to this and to fester disrespect as so many ministerial juveniles in the Tillman Thomas Cabinet did. For many of them, government in Grenada was invented in Grenada in July 2008!

All members of Cabinet should know that one of the fundamental tenets of the Westminster system of government is ‘deference’ to the Prime Minister. Bear this in mind always and stay far from ‘THE INCLUSION’ as they have nothing good and useful to teach you.

Secondly, you should pay attention to the appointments in the area of Law and Order. Here you are to consider the selection of the Attorney-General, the Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner of Prisons and push your mind to figure out the ‘grand design’ with this particular set-up.

Surely, Ram Folkes could have been given an appointment as Technical Attaché to CCC on the Farm Roads Project. Not so? There is, very clearly, a decided focus on the criminal dimensions of the Law and Order mandate. There could be more ! When it touches you, you will know. Remain vigilant!

Turn your attention now to appointments made in Government media, with Titus heading GIS and Hamlet as Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister for Public Relations, Communications and Media Relations.

By all accounts, this is the man whose job it is to re-make and re-set the Prime Minister’s image. Interestingly though, Hamlet could only seek to do so in his own image and likeness! Given the “perfect” job he did on Nazim Burke in the campaign with the ‘TV house ads’, he may well consider it within his gift to attempt a transferral of his own DNA to his newly-beloved leader. We all await the results!

Perhaps the now defunct Happy Hill River will begin to flow again! This time with GREEN water! Maybe Hamlet will call upon Pastor Stanford, the unofficial spiritual appointee of the Government, to conjure up a special miracle!

Resuming, it is contended that the Government’s media outfit would consider that it has now fully honed its political skills and can spin anything, even with impunity! Just read the RGPF’s statement on its espionage assignment at two recent meetings of the NDC. That account is so lame and infantile that it is dripping with guilt and dis-belief. Yet they have mastered the art of propaganda! So they think!

Curiously, with all of these many appointments, no details of the ‘pay and perks packages’ have been revealed. Why not? After all, there was an unsavoury reference in the Throne Speech to what was being paid to appointees of the last regime. However, it seems like that information will have to await a question in the Senate. In this new era, the GIS does not specialise in ‘transparency’.

Appointments are not simply about giving jobs to the boys and girls. The power of appointment is accompanied by the power to disappoint, to re-appoint, to ‘un-appoint’ and not to appoint so as to punish or sideline certain individuals for particular reasons.

Ask Dwight and others! Appointments establish the pecking order within the tribe. Sometimes too, the power of appointment is used to effect tribal cleansing!

Seeds are being sown through the exercise of this power. Unless there is drought in the land, a harvest will be reaped, in the fullness of time. We know not the hour, nor the nature of the harvest.




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