When a social group ignores it role and responsibility, it finally loses focus and becomes irrelevant. This is exactly what happened to the OWTU under the watch of its President General Ancel Roget. The failure of the OWTU to get the green light to purchase the oil refinery only demonstrates that this institution does not have power; it only has a stupid leader with a big mouth.
Power is the ability to influence the behavior of others. Roget must put his tail between his legs and retire in a corner. He must accept that he has made a fool of himself by taking baskets from Rowley.
My thesis is that power is not just wielded by politicians only but also by other groups. Unfortunately, these other groups like the OWTU do not understand their social roles in the working of a nation. They underestimate their roles and instead look up to politicians who are made out to be demi-gods.
Western democracies speak about the separation of power, that is, the separation of the legislature, executive and the judiciary. The concept is that each aspect of power is separate and there is no overlapping. In this way there will be inbuilt checks and balances. Should there not be a separation of powers, the result could be tyranny and dictatorship,
In the traditional Hindu social structure power is distributed among social groups, not just within the government. The four major groups identified in the Hindu social structure are:
A company will have different categories of workers working to realize its objectives. It would mean that each group must maintain its distinct identity as it works harmoniously for the welfare of the whole. For one group to lose its identity would mean loss of purpose and not able to fulfil its tasks.
Without a knowledgeable CEO a business will flounder. In a similar manner, in the field of politics the ruler needs the services of technocrats who are highly knowledgeable, skilled and trained. Unfortunately, many of our technocrats fail to maintain their distinct identity as they fall victims to the lure of power and compromise their integrity.
It is best that a technocrat or public servant restricts himself to his field and not be enticed into the political arena. Also politicians must respect the role of the technocrats and stop believing that party hacks can perform their roles. Putting unqualified political loyalists in critical decision making positions is one reason why public institutions continue to fail in this country. It is not impossible for these institutions to be viable. This can be achieved by putting the welfare of the country above narrow party welfare.
It is wise that our technocrats do not become the handmaiden of politicians so they can uphold the principle of separation of power in its truest sense. In this way our technocrats will be able to call a spade a spade and not dance to the tune of the government.
Many of our best minds have destroyed themselves by becoming embroiled in politics. Had they stood their ground and been uncompromising in their stance on many critical issues our country would have been in a better position today.
C.L.R. James is one of the best minds that the Caribbean has produced. In the 1950s James joined the PNM and served as editor of Magnum, the PNM’s newspaper. Known for his Marxist views on history and the structure of government, the Americans wanted him out. After two years, discovering that Dr. Eric Williams no longer needed him, he moved on with his life, remaining a committed Marxist to his end. Not surprisingly, CLR James remains the only intellectual apart from VS Naipaul, with an international reputation.
Where is the independence of our business class? They have certainly lost their way! Historically, our business elites have been responsible for the rise of fascism and dictators like Augusto Pinochet and Adolf Hitler of Chile and Germany respectively. In Trinidad and Tobago, the so-called 1% has fallen victims to the lure of the almighty dollar. Their greed has allowed poor economic decisions for the short term but mayhem and disaster in the long term. For example, Caroni 1975 Ltd could have been restructured to make it profitable but that was not in the best interest of the 1%. The closure of the company provided the opportunity for business houses to import sugar and distribute, hence the support of such policies. The same can be said for so many local industries-destroy them and replace their products with imported substitutes.
Our labour leaders are lost causes. This is best exemplified in the leadership of the OWTU-Oilfield Workers Trade Union. This organization does not seem to understand its fundamental role and focus. Instead of getting into political arrangement with political parties, the OWTU should have focused solely on its workers and the need to negotiate their best interests. Unfortunately, the leadership of the OWTU is guilty of politicking and today they have to bend their heads in shame with respect to their failure to purchase the oil refinery.
Our politicians continue to do their tasks-lying, stealing from the national purse and nothing to be done about it because those who are supposed to say something have sullied their hands; they are in bed with politicians.