Monday, October 26, 2009

Vincie Sex Scandal & Caribbean Progress

Power, politics and sex have always been bacchanal territory. Factor justice into the mix and there is intrigue; perhaps passionate volatility. Typically I refrain from intra nation state issues because I view local intelligentsia more adept in explicating contextual pertinence.  However, the matter at hand has tremendous import for regional evolution with particular reference to leadership development, social infrastructure; and more importantly, the CCJ.

Across the Caribbean, the struggle powerful men have with their zip region finds no comfort as things unfurl around St. Vincent’s Prime Minister- who is clearly in a present dilemma, if not quagmire. The paradox of quagmire is that robust effort to extricate one’s self is exactly what aids faster sinking. In an aptly entitled novel, Things Fall Apart Achebe utilizes an indigenous village bird to dispense life related wisdom. The creature confesses “since men have learnt to shoot straighter, I have been forced to take fewer rest stops.” With notable exceptions, the quality of shooting related to this unfolding episode leaves much to be desired.  Perhaps more careful distillation will enhance flight patterns as we seek sustainable systems on our journey to regional maturity.

Spare a Thought for Politicians- Response to Responses


Veranda Issues
Mr. Hurst’s response to my article, could at best, only be described as nothing but sundry noises. Comments aren’t remotely related to the central thrust of my article. One is left wondering what understanding of my thesis, if any, preceded his diatribe- I think none.

Issues raised by Mr. Astaphan are more on track, though sometimes digressing into the peripheral. Prior to addressing emerging themes that relate directly to the seminal article, three concerns (about the discussion to-date) are appropriate:

The Manning/Hinn Affair: Wisdom Vs Folly- An Indigenous Bacchanal Slant

Recently, international tele-evangelist Benny Hinn created quite a stir by alluding to Prime Minister Patrick Manning (before his worldwide viewership) as “the most foolish man he ever met.”  Beyond providing ready made picong capital to political detractors, the pronouncement and its context lend for interesting review.

In the case at hand, who is wise and who is foolish are ultimately relative designations dependent upon one’s interest. Just as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, wisdom or folly is in the mind of the interpreter. Based on what has emerged to-date, I see aplomb consumer awareness exercised by the prime minister in what was in fact an indigenous decision making approach regarding a desired service.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Spare a Thought for Politicians!

Spare a thought for politicians. The group that conveniently shakes hands hugs babies and makes un-kept promises. Those arrogant, self centered, sometimes corrupt individuals - Spare a though for them. Amidst loving to hate politicians we frequently loose sight of their humanity, the psychological traps, and job related pressures that collude to produce the queer intelligence that often defines their behavior. So spare a thought for them.

Psychological Factors
In a very real sense politicians are creatures of their environment- reactioneers to our demands and conditions. Famed Caribbean scholar, the late Lloyd Best opines even if there was no God, humans would have invented one. I imagine if there was no body politic, the public would have invented politicians: these popular kinsfolk upon whom we’ve come to depend.  And haven’t we ably schooled/tooled them until there is now rightness of psychological fit between our felt needs and their fashioned/fabled offerings?

Politics Vs Democracy in Antigua & Barbuda (A&B): Critical Challenges

In many countries politics is viewed as necessary evil or inconvenient necessity; not so in A&B. There is natural affinity; even addiction between people and politics. It’s in the life blood, part of the savoir-faire; perhaps even in the water. But interestingly, democratic ideals seem to be falling victim to the way politics is practiced.

While on the upside, voter turnouts averaging in the 80th percentile is a democratic envy; on the downside, thinking through political prisms seems to dominate most spheres of human interaction in A&B.  When a citizen’s first instinct towards any act is the political message it sends; and/or the political cost he/she is likely to pay- that cannot be healthy for a nation’s democracy. Citizens must be free to live and breathe outside the shadow of their nation state’s politics. Rigidly conscripting the motif- politics is a way of life, robs existence of finer beauties and substantive values; but that’s another discussion.

Harps on the Willow for Sir John? Please No!

It is said the shortest life lasts long enough to leave an impact. On the basis of length, reach and quality, the life and times of Sir John Compton brought torrential rapturous blessings to people of St. Lucia and beyond. Commemorating him requires even demands, perspectives of gratitude and celebration more so than mournful dispositioning. Without disregarding essential sentiments of mortality and loss, St. Lucians are better advised to mark the passing of their father figure (affectionately referred to as Sir John) with deliberate emotions of appreciation and acclaim than piety of sackcloth and ashes. His life was far too gifted, his affect too beneficial, for his death to be subjected to prescriptions and practices of customary mourning.

Last of the Mohicans
In the scheme of life we never divine length of our spreadsheet; but certainly do determine the quality of line item contents that decorate our legacy. In this regard, Sir John’s ledger speaks for itself. What more can be said!  He rightly belongs in the hall of fame of Caribbean greats, and must be included on our Mt. Rushmore of luminary leaders who championed independence initiatives across the Anglophone Caribbean: Norman Manley- Jamaica, Grantly Adams- Barbados, Eric Williams- Trinidad & Tobago, and Vere Bird Snr- Antigua & Barbuda. Sir John was the last of these anointed great men who dotted and defined the regional political landscape. Right in step with this stellar group, he was vision, passion and power embodied in an enigmatic galvanizing presence. His was a life of leadership.

On professionalizing Diplomatic Corps: A Rebuttal to Mr. Hurst

First, I wish you a comfortable and speedy convalescence; may God’s favor attend your recovery. Taking time to engage amidst your personal challenges is salutary. I am enamored by your sterling robust will; and honored to debate someone of your legacy.

It’s impossible to miss the passion oozing from your response; endearment to the topic is un-betrayed.  The matter at hand however, requires dispassionate distillation instead of emotional rapture/compromise; but given your lifelong involvement in the area, I understand. As a cricket enthusiast no doubt, I’m sure you can appreciate that your long-handled approach of coming out swinging, carries high incidence of being caught in the deep, stranded down the wicket, or bowled through the gap. I’m sorry my friend, but having chosen to voop on this wicket- yours is the ignominy of being summarily caught, bowled, and stumped all at once.

Caught in the Deep
Interestingly, you characterize my article on the subject as laughable. I draw comfort from two points of observation. 1. George Bernard Shaw asserts “it’s the things in life we are most serious about, we laugh over.”  That you take what I’ve said serious enough to laugh; and are courageous enough to confess it, is honorable. 2. More importantly and less amusing, you’ve arbitrarily selected sentences out of my text and attacked them without even once sharing my seminal thesis with readers. Please Mr. Hurst, even freshmen know text without context is pretext. Selective deflections may reveal political savvy; but do little to advance appreciation of your scholarship.

De Wicket Takin Spin: Of Coha, Hurst & Seriousness

Some days, events; even issues, are unforgettable, unfathomable!

Half our side was down for less than ten! It was clear we would cede bragging rights to village cricket supremacy. Crestfallen, we searched for answers on our way home. Teammates felt wily sophistry by a master craftsman of spin had done us in. To this day, I maintain our rueful infamy was due more to right conditions than bowler’s wizardry- De wicket was takin spin.

Mr. Hurst’s frontal assault on the Coha article (Votes for sale) appears heroic. He stands tall, dressed in Caribbean colors, tugging at our heartstrings- a true defender of the archipelago’s pride- And in the process emerges an almost enviable recipient of honey dripping accolades.  But seriously, is lampooning the Coha article justifiable? How did Mr. Hurst so easily succeed in spinning us out of considering more critical and consequential imperatives? And does his unchallenged polemics not provide troubling evidence that de wicket takin spin?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On Professionalizing Diplomacy: Response to Isaac Newton

I salute Dr. Newton’s honest premonition that his editorial, which argues for the professionalizing of diplomatic corps, invites critique (censure in my opinion). Self confessed inadequacy is virtuous boding for aficionados of public commentary.

Reading Newton’s piece evoked keen recollection of Yogi Bear’s famed directions to a hapless inquiring traveler: “make a left turn at the one-way street ahead, after quarter mile the road becomes a Y, follow it”.  Yogi’s directional ditty is an apt prism through which to view the issue at hand. At surface level, it suggests well intentioned directions may be so convoluted that one emerges more confused than before. Similarly, Dr. Newton (to his credit) re-posits an age old concern with robust cerebral energy; yet fails to provide directional clarity, and in the end is deficient in resolution content.  At the sub terrain level, Yogi is also suggesting an intended objective may itself be unattainable- not only due to un-negotiable complexities; but also simply because such a destination does not exist as a practical reality- so that no amount of directions can get you there.  Having failed at the surface level, it is small wonder Newton’s article ignores inherent sub terrain dimensions/complexities relevant to issue he takes on.

Left Turn
By failing to sufficiently reckon with the nature of the beast he engages, Dr. Newton turns left and goes south with his opinion. His primary failure is not accountably defining a de facto diplomat. The Left Handed Dictionary describes diplomats as people very good at saying come doggie, while looking around for a rock; or people good enough to make you believe who they say they are. Is it any wonder diplomatic practice is also referred to as foreign affairs (pun definitely intended)? 

Of Ends & Beginnings: Implications for Leaders

According to our patterned way of reckoning, one 12 month period ebbs to a close and another peeps in. But have you thought about what, if anything ends or begins; and exactly what that means? Suddenly, what we don’t know seems more glaring than what we do know! Small wonder we depend on rituals to mitigate our unspoken wars between known and unknown. Perhaps with better answers we can make meaning of year end hullabaloos like a falling ball, gunshots, bursting bamboo, new curtains, painted homes; even sex at midnight December 31st.

Despite various cosmetics conveying end and beginning sentiments at this time of year- truth is, nothing stops or starts except our patterned calendar designations. Life and time go on undisturbed, unbroken, and unabated. Nothing essential really stops or starts at the interregnum we call old/new year. So let’s be honest, there is nothing to put down at midnight on December 31 and absolutely nothing to pick up on January 1. Why then persist with resolutions that lack resolve, as rituals of New Year transitioning?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Upcoming Event: November 23rd to December 9th 2009

November 23rd to December 9th 2009:
  • Workshop 1: Modern Approaches to Mentoring Leaders—Faculty and Staff, School of Theology University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica
  • Workshop 2: Rethinking Effective Pastoral Leadership—Senior Students, School of Theology University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica
  • Workshop 3: Managing Personal Power in Sacred Space—Senior Students, School of Theology University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica
  • Workshop 4: Modern Approaches to Mentoring Leaders—Faculty and Staff, School of Theology and Religion, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Jamaica, WI.
  • Workshop 5: Rethinking Effective Pastoral Leadership—Senior Students, School of Theology and Religion, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Jamaica, WI
  • Workshop 6: Managing Personal Power in Sacred Space—Senior Students, School of Theology and Religion, Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Jamaica, WI
  • Workshop 7: Conflict Resolution and Leadership Negotiation: Successful Outcome Strategies, West Indies Union Ministerial Association, Mandeville, Jamaica, WI
  • Workshop 8: Leadership Survival & Truth: The Pragmatics of Politics and Ethics in Leadership, West Indies Union Ministerial Association, Mandeville, Jamaica, WI
  • Workshop 9: Improving the Quality of Lay Leadership: Annual Lay Council, East Jamaica Conference of SDA, Kingston Jamaica, WI.
  • Workshop 10: Leadership Renewal: Secrets & Self Application Strategies, Pastors & Administrators of East Jamaica Conference of SDA, Kingston Jamaica, WI.
  • Workshop 11: Power & the Pastor: Provoking Insights on Personal Power in Sacred Space, Pastors & Administrators of East Jamaica Conference of SDA, Kingston Jamaica, WI.
  • Workshop 12: Improving the Quality of Lay Leadership; Annual Lay Council, Northeast Jamaica Conference of SDA, Jamaica WI.
  • Workshop 13: Turnaround Leadership Approaches: Styles and Approaches to Leading Change; Pastors & Administrators, Northeast Jamaica Conference of SDA, Jamaica, WI.
  • Workshop 14: Why A-Class Boards Make C-Class Decisions: Improving the Quality of Boards and Committees; Pastors & Administrators, Northeast Jamaica Conference of SDA, Jamaica, WI.
Dr. Raymond S. Edwards
President/CEO, MOHDC
Raymond Edwards, Ph.D. Organizational Psychologist & Minister of Religion: is an international development consultant and executive Leadership behavior specialist.

Upcoming Event: October 28th to November 6th 2009

October 28th to November 6th 2009:
  • Seminar/Workshop 1: Executive Competence & Courage Mt. St. John’s Medical Hospital—L/ship Team, St. John’s Antigua
  • Seminar/Workshop 2: Executive Competence & Courage—Bank of Antigua/Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank Ltd. Leadership Team
  • Seminar/Workshop 3: Group Dynamics & Workplace Productivity—Bank of Antigua/Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank Ltd. Middle Managers
  • Seminar/Workshop 4: Improving Professionalism & Performance Management—Bank of Antigua/Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank Ltd. Supervisors
Dr. Raymond S. Edwards
President/CEO, MOHDC
Raymond Edwards, Ph.D. Organizational Psychologist & Minister of Religion: is an international development consultant and executive Leadership behavior specialist.

Upcoming Event: October 26th, 2009

October 26th, 2009: NYC Children’s Services: New York, NY
  • Seminar for Consultants on: Improving Teaching Techniques for Children with Disabilities
Dr. Raymond S. Edwards
President/CEO, MOHDC
Raymond Edwards, Ph.D. Organizational Psychologist & Minister of Religion: is an international development consultant and executive Leadership behavior specialist.

Radio Program Interview

Public Address

(Faith based partnerships: Capable mechanisms for crime reduction, prison reform and community empowerment)
Power 102 FM- Trinidad and Tobago, WI.

Dr. Edwards what are your views on the current crime situation facing our country?
There is no use in me belabouring the point that recent times have seen an upsurge in both the heinousness as well as the rapidity with which crimes have been committed in Trinidad and Tobago. The good news is that the rapid spate of crime seems to have abated within the last few weeks. The bad news is that the lull may be just that, abatement. The good news about the bad news is that if essential and innovative steps are put in place the slow down can be sustainable.

Educating with Soul: The Missing Ingredient

Public Address

(Delivered at Pat-Kam School Annual Awards Ceremony)
  • We thank Pat-Kam & its leadership for bringing together this commonwealth of gratitude and appreciation.  This evening’s proceedings give a loud voice to the essential, thank you; we all long for but seldom receive. I dare say honorees, your plaques, bouquets and citations explain only a small percentage of the joy you are experiencing; the greater part comes from just the thought that someone recognizes your contributions and sacrifices.

  • Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the notion of education that this evening is all about. The fact that honorees come from different fields account for the ways in which education concerns intersect with, and are supported by all aspects of life. 
  • Passionate concerns and robust debate often attend school practice. The irony is that more concerns, debate and expense seem to produce lesser outcomes. Equally interesting is that ever pundit has a take on why solutions don’t work. I can do no more harm by adding my voice to the discourse. I’ve chosen to caption my presentation, education reform: a missing ingredient.
What’s Missing

One missing element may best defined as student conceptualization of school.  Envisage today’s average student en-route to school. What image/s of the destination called school informs his/her thinking?  Maybe at best, a place to hang-out with friends or make out with lovers. Perhaps even a pastime venue for honing survival skills for the ‘hood’ or ‘street’.  At worst, school connotes a place of insecurity, unwanted exposure, failure; even hopelessness. Too often this zero sum spectrum holds true.  As educators, these may not be notions we care to acknowledge, let alone affirm.  Nevertheless, on the basis of (at least) anecdotal evidence it is a prospect we cannot escape or deny.  The sad reality is that the daily journey to school of far too many minority students is undertaken without a worthy image of the purpose for which they are making the trip.


Public Address

(Delivered at Brazil SDA Church on Dedication Day)
A trickle down of Confucius thought famously claims that one cannot stand in the same river twice. Zen masters on the other hand emphasize the immutable standing of the river not only as a landmark but as a symbol of constancy. So is the river the water that flows with minerals, sediments and debris or the banks and physical pathway that the watercourse takes. If your definition of river is the water that flows then indeed you cannot stand in the same river twice. If to you the river is its banks and its physical course-way then every day the river is the same, constant.  

Whatever your definition of river maybe I remember standing in the Brazil River, Arena Road and  baptizing over forty souls as a result of two simultaneous crusades conducted by Bro. Lennox Alicock in Brazil Village proper and Bro. Julian in Arena Village. Those were some days and nights I tell you. Though some of you may know what I’m speaking about others may not. Because that was then, some of you had already past and moved on; others were yet to come.  That of course brings me back to the definition of river. So is the river the water or the watercourse?

The Search for Meaning

Public Address

(Delivered at Brazil SDA Dedication Weekend Vesper Service)
One interesting way Jesus taught when he walked upon earth was the provoking way in which he questioned people. Jesus had this particular knack for asking hard questions and forcing people to think more than they planned to or were accustomed to. Hear Jesus one day:

What do you think? A certain man had two sons. He said to the 1st go work today in my vineyard. He said I go sir but did not go. The 2nd said I will not go but later repented and went. Which of the 2 did the will of the father? Immediately you think you know the answer. But please, don’t be too quick to voice it.

The End Depends on the Beginning

Public Address

(School building extension dedication address)
Today we’re gathered to dedicate and commission the extended physical plant of Pat-Kam school of early education.  Before proceeding further, I congratulate Ron and Geraldine.  This undertaking is tribute to your pursuit of excellence as well as the good of others.  I am fully aware that this completed edifice is etched with your perspiration and garrisoned with your perseverance; it’s a thrill to see the night of your toil give birth to this daybreak of celebration. It is equally clear that this project would be rendered impossible without the demonstrated team spirit of the faculty and assistance of many others. So I salute the entire school family here at Pat-Kam.

As we commemorate the achievement let us be mindful that this institution is a player on a larger landscape and part of a wider backdrop.  The function of education in society is held to be a critical element in human development and socialization.  Almost every dysfunction and discomfort of society is often perceived as a deficiency in the educative process. Accordingly the sphere of education is a churning sea of discontent, debate and impending change.  Public education particularly has maintained a surface of buoyant discourse with very little by way of achieved difference to show.  Private education has long tried to provide a mediating role by attempting to bridge expectations and outcomes.  Because of different terms of reference public and private education enterprises are not to be conceived as Siamese twins; neither are they to be pitted as archenemies. Both practices are affected and informed by going-ons in each other’s world.