Ineptitude Destroying Caribbean Progression

| December 7, 2012

Darby Etienne MA Diplomacy

I challenged a guy in a pub to stop drinking alcohol he replied “I am not an alcoholic”.  Just yesterday I asked a male friend to stop chatting up young women, he claims that he is a “not a womaniser”.

So when I ask a Caribbean Politician to stop giving jobs to friends and supporters of their party especially where they have no qualification or experience; naturally the answer was “I am no nepotistic politician”. But, if it looks and quacks like a duck would it make sense to try and milk it?

As a well travelled Caribbean man I find it curious that I have yet to land in an island where the political muscle is not exercised in favour of a small clique. If you want to make things happen, get a job, secure investment opportunities you have to seek the grace and favour of a few families. This is one of the reasons why politics in the region is so divisive.

The fact is the pool of opportunities is also small in most Caribbean countries. So, choosing from party lines makes it even more restrictive and inevitably leads to selection of the least capable. So then, this begs the question:

How do these nations expect to be taken seriously within the international community?

Why would international organisations around the world take the Caribbean seriously when we put forward reactive, below par officials instead of high performing proactive ones?  Those fortunate to represent their country at meetings must be fully capable and selected upon merit not just party affiliation.

We pay duties to the United Nations for membership yet there are few Caribbean nations who place any issue on the table apart from bananas.  You wonder why they disparage us as banana republicsin the New York chamber. So the next question is:

The Adams Family. Photo courtesy unitech.pk

Why would the international community not take advantage of our ineptitude?

I hardly hear open criticism voiced about the poor performance of certain persons representing their country; this is not the done thing, but behind closed door the su-su (gossip) spreads.

If a business has a bad manager we all know what happens to that manager as soon as it’s clear that revenue is suffering.  But there is no objective measurement of performance for diplomatic representatives of Caribbean countries.

It is easy for poor performance to hide when there is a whole ocean between us, the bosses, and them, the official we pay to represent our national interest. They hide behind trays of canapés, they skulk in the embassies, they are left behind in the slow lane like a white runner in the 100 metre finals.

Ineptitude does not come alone, it has relatives; there is auntie Procrastination, brother Mediocrity and grandma Tardiness.  Just imagine for a second Inept goes to represent his country at some official meetings with his entire Adams family. Or he might show up late at one of our Government missions masquerading as a trade official.

His brother is left answering phone calls, auntie cant’ be bothered to talk with members of the Diaspora because that would be too much trouble. But of course this is our family and it would be rude to criticise them openly so we look the other way while they get on with misrepresenting us.

Is the diplomatic signalling correct?

In diplomatic terms, sending the wrong perception signals can be very disastrous for a country. What another country perceives about us, by way of action or inaction will affect us and impact upon our fortunes. Can we really afford the Adams family running our affairs overseas?

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Category: Caribbean Diplomacy, Commonwealth Political Insights, Politics

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