The problem with Caribbean governments – By By Felicia J. Persaud

The problem with Caribbean governments – By By Felicia J. Persaud

Caricom - USA Summit

CARICOM leaders doing what they do best – posing for pictures.

News Americas, BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Wednesday, April 29, 215: This morning, as I looked at the headlines from around the region on my Google newsfeed, one stood out. It summed up in one sentence what I think is the problem with most Caribbean governments today – both old and new – and why the region seems to be consistently on pause.

It was an interview done by the savvy Gabriel Abed, the CEO of the new Caribbean Bitcoin company, Bitt, with The Coin Telegraph, a media entity that covers this sphere. In the interview, Abed was asked what is the difficulty he and his colleagues have encountered in starting Bitt? 

“Our biggest difficulty is an uninformed government unit who may take a negative stance based on limited research and FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt),” Abed was quoted as saying.

The phrase that awakened my brain and resonated, however, was “uninformed government.”

Why? Because from my experience in the past 20 years in dealing with Caribbean governments and their agencies, I believe this is the crux of the problem with the entire region.

Abed has hit the nail on the head.

Sadly this goes for those who have been in office for a few years or just getting into office.

They remain largely uninformed beyond the local politics they play and there is no effort to remedy this by hiring the best and brightest to serve. It’s almost as if the world is moving all around them but it’s stood still where they are. What global village?

This ignorance pervades every level of governance sadly – from the policies, to the responses and actions to how business is done.

Their reality is so far removed from the fast paced world of commerce and technology in which we live that it boggles the mind.

Simple strategies and structures that are considered essential and normal to governance and doing business in the real world are ignored or rarely in place. Want something done? Well better be friends with the prime minister or it’s not going to happen.

Communication between each other is a rarity and most of all, investment agencies and those who are quick to tout the fact that they are investor friendly, are often too uninformed themselves to even get all the facts together to close the easiest of deals or get the bigger picture. Pettiness rules because again, most are uninformed and hypocrisy becomes the order of the day.

Arrogance is used to mask ignorance and the blame game is played instead of real, new and innovative solutions offered to stimulate growth and better the lives of the poor voters who elected them.

The weak are silenced by the strong within their own governments; infighting and frustration ensues as the agenda becomes one of self-interest over people empowerment; loyalty and commitment is paid back with dismissal, indifference and run around and tit for tat is played with peoples’ lives.

And all the while a puppet show is staged with the pageantry of speeches and photo posturing – preferably from some exotic country abroad – to send the simplistic message that all is well in Paradise.

Sadly, at the end of the day, the people are the ones who end up screwed without foreplay in all orifices and the cycle of distrust, frustration, victimization and lack of growth continues.

Another day, same song, same dance; only the partners’ change!

But the mistake made too often is that these same uninformed governments assume the people they govern are uninformed too – whether they are local or Diaspora voters. That’s the biggest uninformed mistake of all. In many cases, most of the population are smarter than the very candidates they elect. It is little wonder that we have seen so many changes in governments across the region lately.

It’s time governments – old and new – realize the world has changed and it’s time to throw away the old political playbook and with it the ignorance and befuddlement. Only informed actions that lead to progress and prosperity for all matters; all of the time, not just some of the time.

The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.


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  • Winston Yaw  On 04/30/2015 at 12:17 pm

    The problem with most governments, Caribbean or otherwise, is that they are all run by men and women who enter Government service to acquire power and the advantages it gives them to line their own pockets and those of their families and cronies. Its rarely done to benefit the people they govern.

  • albert  On 04/30/2015 at 2:15 pm

    Winston you and this article hit the nail right on the head. They do not hire the best and brightest because they may feel threatened, or they are not informed enough to accept advice on the modern way of management, or they have their own personal agenda.
    They will make a “cake-shop” owner Minister and overnight he considers himself an expert in finance or agriculture and not in need of advice.

  • basil  On 04/30/2015 at 7:00 pm

    You make several valid points ,in the end the population deserves the gov’t that they elect.This is the essence of democracy.Let the people decide??????? I PREFER BENEVOLENT DICTATORSHIP.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 05/01/2015 at 3:20 am

    Let me add that I agree with both of you – I believe the skill-sets required to promote yourself and convince the populace to support your election, are quite different from what is required to “manage” and implement the policies and agenda you had promoted during the campaign speeches and the road-show.

    When you are cornered on the road by a hostile and hungry people, with your back up against a wall, you learn to adjust and defuse the heightened emotions by agreeing with them – you lead by following in front ….

    – “But, that was a campaign promise!” – sounds familiar?

  • albert  On 05/01/2015 at 10:33 am

    There was a movie in which the politician ran an excellent campaign and got elected as US Senator. After winning he turn and ask the question: now that I won what should I do.
    Very few leaders who were good at running for office were also outstanding as leader in office. Nelson Mandela is often quoted as a good example.

    Memory of the “The West on Trial” suggest a leader with those views in a 2 by 4 country in that part of the western world had to fail. Leaders with communist/socialist ideology, who nationalize capitalist properties are doom to failure. Sugar and bauxite in Guyana, oil in Venezuela etc. A leader of an LDC in the West has to be informed about the reality of world affairs and play a smart game with the hand the country is dealt.

  • Gabriel Abed  On 06/14/2015 at 5:00 pm

    I do believe a change is coming in the form of technology that will grasp the voice of the people in the rules of its governance.

  • Gigi  On 06/15/2015 at 9:38 pm

    The author makes the mistaken assumption that citizens elect their govt. Just because a govt is chosen and promoted does not mean that the populace elected that govt. Guyana and the Caribbean have that much in common. Fraudulent elections that put very dumb politicians in power that western govts can exploit. Putting a handful of ignorant, vulgar, thuggish, lazy and racist supporters into the mix to give the impression of a democratic election process does not convince those who know otherwise. No, the citizens did not vote for these idiots! These idiots were rigged into office. To state that these govt s are elected by the citizens is an insult to the citizens.

    I hope that the PPP/c does not acquiesce to this fraudulent govt that has been illegally placed in power by the ABC countries!

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