Hastings R. Daniel In the public interest.
We join the conversation started by the good pastor Ron and seized on in some fashion by the Observer editorial of May 20, 2016. Ron lamented the lack of youthfulness in the public service of 2016. He recalled the halcyon days of youth, enterprise, energy and intelligence in further the interest of the Federation in its nascent stages in 1983. The Observer editorial quite unsurprisingly took a different view and even embarrassed all of us by saying today’s youth matures at age 60 instead of yesterday’s youth at aged 30.
Take a look at Public Service as I knew it. There was a change of Government in 1980. Dr. Kennedy Simmonds led a firebrand youth cabinet of men in their early 40’s. There was energy, enterprise and a burning desire by these young men to make their mark and stamp on the young nation’s consciousness. Talk Powell, Morris and Daniel. Not only were these boys youthful but true to form they call men and women their age and stage to help them lead the public service. Simmonds called Calvin (Patty) Farrier, a young, trained and not yet tested intelligent firebrand Sandy Pointer to be in the vanguard as Chief Secretary. Pam called home Heyliger, Somersall, Mitcham. They promoted Osbourne, Petty, Lawrence, Edwardsto Permanent Secretary. Hamilton went to National Insurance and Pistana to National Bank. Hector went to Development Bank. In Nevis Sim Daniel went for Parry, Amory, Martin, Merchant, Brand, Tyrell Huggins and Daniel, young men just 30 years of age and much younger. Boy as a young man then you felt like the river was flowing and the thunder was rolling. St.Kitts and Nevis could have worked development magic. And we did.
In 1995 the people changed their government. Dr. Douglas just shy of 40 with a group of young men his age ready at the starting line chumping at the bits. Douglas went for Edmeade, Hendrickson, Jenkins, Maynard, Vasquez, Harris, Gilbert, Bass, Rattan at the public service. The Port, Banks, Insurance, Corporations saw new youthful energy led by a workaholic P.M. who was to pride himself as being ten men in one. St.Kitts and Nevis with youthful exuberance”climbed every mountain, forged every stream, follow every pathway until we fulfilled our dreams”.
This period of both PAM and Labour pushed and pulled us forward. Young people went to be trained. They saw themselves in leadership positions even as they saw their fellow young people working their butts off for their country. Patriotism was sky-high as eagles were soaring. Every party from Bradshaw who brought in Moore, Bryant and Payne to Simmonds to Douglas who brought in Drew, Maynard and Gilbert sought to renew, resuscitate and re-load the public with intelligence and energy. The Observer editorial is way-off to suggest that today’s youth with computer literacy, zeal and knowledge is only peaking at 60. We say that statement is not worth the dirt if it was written thereon. The son is always to be father to the man or the father has failed the son if that is not the case. There is no reason to say that the son should not take over from the father because the father has not prepared him to do so.
What have we hear in St.Kitts and Nevis in 2016. We have a relative old politboro led by a 50-year old with no fewer than four cabinet ministerial positions in their late 60’s. We appoint an “Old Mother Hubbard” as cabinet secretary and a person who has passed his sell-by-date as Prime Minister PS. We recall the youths of PAM 1980 to lead and advise this motley crew in 2016, full 36 years after their heyday. We send to the OAS a veritable septuagenarian while retaining some five advisers who are in their high 70’s at home. In National Bank a 58 year old was replaced by a 75 year old in 2016, the bank itself being led by another such great grand daddy.
In Nevis wehave an old dribbler leading two men twenty years his junior. These youngsters in Nevis are the same age and older than when Vance Amory became Premier in 1992. How on earth can Vance who was never “our help in ages past be our hope for years to come” lead these young men who are approaching their twilight political years. Will he be hoisted on his own petard and die in office cuddling Nevis in his bosom. Nevis and its civil service are dead. Little wonder Vance has abandoned the premiership. He is too old and cold to do one job now he takes on two. Father time does not need an invitation to come calling. Ask Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan of basketball fame.
All through the civil service we see the gerontocracy being enthroned. We cannot find anybody to lead National Security but a tired old horse who should be put out to pasture. How many hours a waking day and what energy can these great grandmothers and grandfathers bring to bear on the challenges of today’s modern government. When say the Prime Minister calls his cabinet secretary and she is hobbling coming does that not conjure up an image of that local calypsonian who lyrically jeered :”Paul you mother come!” Why oh why have we degenerated to this. Little wonder the entire government is so slow to even taking up a glass of water. Everything is on hold in St.Kitts and Nevis as the seniors without viscosity, verve or vitality shuffle with laden feetlong time over the hill of service but now come back to cash in for their swan song. Nothing will get done in St.Kitts and Nevis with this motley senior citizens crew. Youth see no future when they have to wait until they are 70+ to get a little P.S. job. Take Lawrence and his ilk not yet 60 but who can boast real achievement and I hope some real money.
Sorry Pastor Ron we need a miracle to have a resurgence of youth and vigour in our public service. Perhaps the Church should be in perpetual prayer. Que Lastima!