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2005-08-09 09:29:01

The Right Thing

The report submitted to The Council concerning the presidency of Dr. Smith should be released to the public.

Now that Dr. Rodney David Smith has announced that he intends to resign his post as president of The College of The Bahamas, we take this opportunity to offer the Minister of Education and The Council of The College of The Bahamas some strong advice.

We have it on good authority that the report by the advisory panel to the College Council on Dr. Smith's plaggarism was adverse. If this is the case, Dr. Smith should not be able to pick and choose when to resign.

He says he will resign at the end of his vacation on August 31st. However, the honourable thing for him to do is to resign forthwith.

In addition, today we are calling on the Hon. Alfred M. Sears to act without delay, further hesitation or equivocation and see to it as a matter of the gravest urgency that the report submitted to The Council concerning the presidency of Dr. Smith be released to the public so that The People on whose behalf it was done, could know what was actually done and said.

And by the same token, we call upon the Council of The College of The Bahamas to rise to the challenge in the moment, and do the right thing.

That 'right thing' must be for it to release - for the attention of The People- the findings of the advisory panel it caused to be convened. The panel members included Anglican Archbishop Drexel Gomez; Bahamas Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Paulette Bethel; Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies, Professor Rex Nettleford; President-elect of John Carroll University of Cleveland, Ohio and former Vice Provost of the University of San Francisco, Father Robert Niehoff; and Retired Justice Joseph Strachan.

That statutory body must - and without further delay or equivocation - release the report of the group of eminently qualified persons that was called on to assist The Council as it tried to make up its mind as to what should happen in The College of The Bahamas as a consequence of Dr. Smith's egregiously bad error. The public that has paid for that report wants to know what was said. We agree with the people.

If it is conceded - as it apparently it has already been - that the advice of the eminently qualified group included other matters of concern to The College of The Bahamas, and thence by extension to the Bahamian people, it follows that the people have a right to know what the group is saying.

That group's conclusions would - we are certain - go some way towards scotching the idea that Dr. Rodney David Smith was somehow hounded out of the presidency of The College of The Bahamas.

Dr. Rodney David Smith knows otherwise, and has said otherwise. He admits that he was the author of his own distresses. Those who wanted to forgive him have done just that. However, none of this is relevant to a determination as to his suitability to hold onto the office of president of The College of The Bahamas.

This is where the matter boils down to suitability, character, and temperament. The question of achievement is irrelevant. If achievement was the key criterion for the post, we dare say that the post could be filled by anybody who has succeeded in a spectacular manner, no matter the means.

Happily and fortunately, this is not criterion in The College of The Bahamas. The standard is set within the parameters of that institution's motto that calls for Knowledge, Truth and Integrity. Dr. Smith must have known that this was the case when he covenanted to lead the College in a certain direction!

While some might wish to believe that we have some axe to grind in the matter involving Dr. Rodney David Smith and his battles concerning his admitted plagiary; the fact of the matter is that nothing could be further from the truth.

As the record would show - were it to be examined - we were fulsome in our praise for Dr. Smith; welcoming him back to The Bahamas as if he were a favoured native son. We thought then that the Council of The College of The Bahamas had made a most excellent decision. As fate would have it, practically every one involved in that choice was proved wrong.

This is now history. What is needed today, is for all parties involved in the Smith fiasco to get up from under the rubble.

Editorial from The Bahama Journal

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