There is a phenomenon that occurs with considerable frequency in our country that gives me pause every time it happens. It is this bad habit of everyone wanting to see the prime minister whenever they are seemingly at an impasse with whatever their cause happens to be. It is also the willingness of our prime ministers to accommodate this foolishness with almost equal regularity.
The most recent examples were the demonstrations of the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU). Executive Chairman Leslie Miller was already engaged with what can hardly be called a ‘dispute’. The minister with responsibility for BEC had not yet been involved and the Industrial Tribunal was not yet even on anybody’s mind. Nevertheless, as soon as the union took it upon itself to demand (by an unauthorized work stoppage and march to his office) an audience with the prime minister he immediately came out, acquiesced and arranged a meeting. In the process, he short-circuited and made of non-effect the offices of all of the aforementioned persons and organs. He also (like all of his predecessors of the past 40 years) demonstrated his complete lack of management knowledge and skills in that he would have severely impacted the morale of the chairman, minister Philip Davis and the Industrial Tribunal.
It is a fundamental management error of huge proportions to appoint persons to positions of responsibility and then turn around and usurp the responsibility that you delegated to them. It demeans and belittles him in the eyes of the protagonists, who are his juniors, and leads to a loss of respect of him and his office. It also reveals that the PM is a disorganized person. How else can you explain his ability to so quickly re-arrange his extremely busy schedule?
No wonder our leaders have stopped saying they are trying to take us to the First World. It is because their repeated actions betray and expose the lie. It is unheard of in the First World for a president or prime minister to meet (at short or long notice) a union leader because of a dispute, real or imagined. It simply does not happen. And the reason it does not happen is because others are appointed with the requisite ability and authority to deal with these matters, and they are allowed the latitude to do their jobs. In fact, persons, organizations and unions with issues in those countries do not even think about engaging their national leaders in this manner because they know that they will be barking up the wrong tree and will not be paid any attention whatsoever.
Perhaps it strokes the egos of our leaders to imagine that everyone wants to see them for every reason. What they need to realize is that it does the nation a gross disservice. Why force the country to pay the expenses of a 21-member Cabinet and then act as ‘minister for everything’? In this country insanity seemingly knows no bounds. And I don’t think anything in this regard is going to change until the day comes when we have a businessperson as PM. I am not prejudiced, but it seems to me that thus far attorneys have just not been cutting it as far as managing the office of the nation’s chief executive is concerned.
By: Welly Forbes