Manning, The Genius

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
April 18, 2012

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI never thought that Patrick Manning was such a genius and soothsayer, especially when he told us that one could turn ordinary CEPEP managers into captains of national and international industries; that, in fact, they could run corporations worth billions of dollars without flinching; and all that one needed to be a servant of the people was commonsense and a level head. In this formulation education attainment, business acumen, management skills, experience and maturity do not matter. To hear the PP tell it, these are just overrated and unnecessary appendages that have no place in a modern economy.

Take the case of Rabindranath Moonan who the PP has named to be the chairman of Caribbean Airlines Board. His qualifications consist of his having managed a CEPEP gang and working as a clerk at the Central Bank about thirty six years ago. Asked to explain the logic of this appointment, Devant Maharaj, Minister of Transportation, assured his fellow citizens that previous chairmen such as Arthur Lok Jack, Hugh Wooding and economist Frank Rampersad did not have an aviation background when they undertook a similar position.

Is Devant Maharaj in his right mind or is he losing it? Did he ever hear about the logical fallacy that asserts: “correlation does not imply causation?”

It is true that Lok Jack, Wooding and Frank Rampersad did not possess any aviation experience before they assumed the chairmanship of the Board (that is, the correlation.) It does not follow that they were awarded the job (causation) because they did not have aviation experience. They were appointed to the chairmanship because they possessed impressive track records of achievement and documented mastery of their respective fields.

On May 31, 1961, the day on which the West Indies constitutional conference opened at Lancaster House in London, BOAC issued the following statement: “The Board of British West Indian Airways were notified at a board meeting today that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago expressed a wish to discuss the future ownership of the Company.”

“Mr. Hugh Wooding, chairman of BWIA, and Keith Granville, chairman of BOAC Associated Companies, agreed to provide Government with all relevant information. Important matters relating to the current and future operating programme of the company have been deferred pending these discussions.”

Such was the stature of the man that Trinidadians and Tobagonians were assured that he had the necessary stature and experience to conduct their business wisely.

When Devant compares Moonan with Sir Hugh Wooding, our former Chief Justice, does he really believe that Mohan could have walked over from a Constitutional Committee that was discussing the future of the West Indies to a BOAC office to talk about the future of BWIA, the national airline of the British West Indian Federation at the time? Would Trinbagonians have been comfortable seeing the BWIA chairmanship passed from Errol dos Santos, Wooding’s predecessor, to Rabindranath Monan?

But the delusion (in some places we call this madness) of gets worse. Moonan suggests that too much fuss is being made about whether he has the necessary qualifications and experience to be the chairman of the board. Even asking such a question suggest that he is not fit to be the chairman of the Board. If experience and knowledge do not qualify one for a particular job, what else does?

But Moonan is not satisfied with such shallowness. He opines: “It (experience) has been bandied about as if it is the biggest thing since slice bread…All of a sudden people are asking this question. I have been looking at numerous boards where this does not apply, but I wouldn’t call any names.”

And isn’t this the problem? The quality of all of the government boards which have the legal responsibility to oversee the functions of specific governmental organizations has fallen so low that Moonan does not realize that even by making the comparison he condemns the PP selection process to shame and disgrace and demonstrates that mediocrity is now the norm in these appointments.

What qualities does Moonan brings to the chairmanship? In his own words: “I feel I have good interpersonal communication skills, not just business but also politics [is that skills?]…The position of Chairman is a thankless one. I think we are blessed in this country to have those who offer themselves to public service.”

I am sure that Moonan is correct about the motives of those who offer themselves for public service. But the real question is this: does he have a knowledge of airline economics and an understanding of the international nature of the airline industry to provide the oversight that his position requires? And is it sufficient, as Devant says, that all that is required to be the chairman of such an important board is someone who can “give life” to the aviation sector and implement government policy.

But I am not dismayed. When Ewart Williams’ terms ends as the governor of the Central Bank, I intend to nominate my mother who ran a susu for over thirty years. She’s from outside the industry; she is trustworthy; can count and has the necessary fiscal skills to run a bank. Incidentally, her interpersonal skills are superb.

The state is nothing more than a gigantic social and economic enterprise that manages a country’s resources in a prudent manner. It takes knowledge, skills, experience and enterprise to do a good job. Lenin, it was, who said that politics was nothing more than economics in another form (or taken to a higher level) which suggests that when we make bad political decisions simultaneously we are making bad economic decisions as well.

Putting such an inexperienced and unknowledgeable person in such a position cannot redound to the benefit of our society. It will not be long before we begin to see the disastrous effects of these horrendous decisions.

Mr. Manning was undoubtedly incorrect. However, it takes the PP to make an art out of such inchoateness, and that is the definition of genius gone mad: even when you are wrong foolish people are willing to follow you.

10 thoughts on “Manning, The Genius”

  1. It is indeed the continuation of sheer madness. Manning once appointed an old PNM hack and enthusiast to the Board of the Central Bank and this man had no financial or economic qualifications. He was merely a Literature professor in a foreign university.
    The present Leader of the Opposition is a student of rocks and soils with a PHd from a university in the West Indies which has long past its glory days and its student qualifications are now questionable in most reputable jurisdictions.

  2. As a weekly contributor to this website and to a daily newspaper in T&T, Cudjoe is quick to critique the performance of the PP government.
    I wonder if he would make a more profound contribution to the people of T&T by offering solutions to the crime problem and the continuous parade of young Black murderers and rapists before the courts on a daily basis. After all he is always correct and quick to identify and investigate incidents of discrimination against Blacks, for example, his education investigation.

    1. TMan, I am certain, given your proclivity to being judgemental, especially with regards to Black people, that you might not have heard of Marcus Terentius Varro a Roman Scholar and writer (116 BC – 27 BC).

      You therefore might not also have heard of his timeless, encompassing, and sublime statement of what being human is.

      Stated below in the original Latin, then in English, French, Creole, Spanish, Portuguese it is:

      *Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto.

      *I am a human being, so nothing human is alien to me.

      *Je suis un homme, et rien de ce qui est humain ne m’est étranger.

      *Se moun mwen ye; nan pwen anyen ki regade kretyen vivan ki pa regade m.

      *Hombre soy, nada humano me es ajeno.

      *Sou um ser humano, portanto, nada que é humano me estranha.

      My point is that today you, and others like you take judgemental delight to point fingers at the Black population in TnT, and do so in scorn.

      You will not do so at any other community, and in large measure what you point out is factual that too many young Black men fill up the court systems here and elsewhere.

      Similarly, too, yet conversely, when I was a young man growing in Morvant, the killers and their ilk in TnT were Indians by far.

      A Black Trini, Sewel Gordon was hanged, but because he, a teacher, refused to remove his foot from a bench at the order of a ‘locho’ British Judge trying him for ‘sedition’.

      The criminal elite however, included such notables as Boysie Singh who had a habit of taking emigres across from TnT to Venezuela and in the middle of the sea unceremoniously first toss overboard their children, then tell them to swim and get them.

      There was Dalip Singh who first murdered his English wife and then his courtesan. One cannot forget the Poolool Brothers, one of whose specialties when raping women was to have a broken bottle poised below the bottoms of these women to force them to ‘wine high in de air’.

      Not to be forgotten was Dole Chadee and his partisans.

      Of course, from personal knowledge I could point to the Hindus who lived opposite my spouse’s family and who, because my fathar-in-law refused to sell him one of his milking cows, on returning from worship one Shabbath, he found all the cows and calves dead, frothing and swollen, from drinking bitter cassava water.

      It’s the closest Pupa came to committing murder as these decent people sat brazenly in their gallery watching as he buried his flock.

      Today, individuals like you whose predecessors if they were Indians fleeing Mother India might have been suckled at the breasts of a Black mother since the Indian mother of the Indian baby had died, either intransit from India or soon after arrival.

      Now, you speak as if you belong to a superior race, and culture and Black TnT to a lower ‘caste’, etc.

      Yes, I grieve greatly for my people, and do whatever in retirement that I can.

      However, I have also done the same for people of every other race and can state before Yahweh and Yeshua Hamaschia (Jesus the Christ) that never have I discriminated against a person of another race. And as a teacher at ever level, I have had opportunity, too. But guided by my parents’ dictum, including that stated above, I have kept the faith with all people.

      Can you say the same for yourself and yours?


  3. Cudjoe what relevant experience and qualificatios did you have when PNM appointed you to the board of the central bank ?

    You blamed the UWI for discrimination in selecting students and recommended that a black student must be selected for every one selected from another race, regardless if they pass the entry exams or not.

    What is your problem now ? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

  4. Thank you for the evidences and facts yes Manning understood what governing meant and implemented it with some arrogance that the end result will prevail. Unfortunately Trinidad business especially the construction and building industry are/is run by a MAFIA Elias, SABGA and the surrogate East Indian monopoly. Dare me with evidence otherwise! Patrick Manning barked up a tree where his cabinet did not have the balls to back him, rather they squabble like hens on the farm as they mis-informed both the Prime Minister/Cabinet subsequently themselves. Patrick Manning insured a stroke because he kept holding on a truth that will decimate the PNM leadership. Manning ministers and MPs lied to him repeatedly. I’d like to read his Biography

  5. Is this the same Cudjoe who was sent for ‘training’ in finance AFTER he was appointed to the board of the Central Bank by Manning’s PNM? Is he the same one who together with Rowley sought ‘affirmative action’ to educate those who did not have entry requirements @ UTT? Should Moonan similarly be sent for training in aviation? Should he also be afforded regular first class air travel as was the case with Cudjoe?

  6. M. Rampersad, That is our problem. We have to compare the present with whatever wrong we seem to think the PNM did. Are we ever going to move forward from that level of thinking? It is as though you are saying the PNM did it so anyone else can. The writer stated that the late Sir Hugh Wooding “did not possess any aviation experience,” are you going to compare Sir Hugh’s appointment with the present one also? Recently a member of the PSC shared a similar to view of which you are accusing the writer. When are we going to get past race and party?

  7. Like I say Cudjoe is a rabble rouser. All the points made are good points and to Frontsman – We in T&T will never get past race and party. We like it so. And anyone that tries to get past race and party will be doomed. I have tried it but I will let you do so and have your own experience. In politics with the current set up you will have to get back to your base constituents and the way the first PM and opposition set it up there is only one way. And for those who say that the first PM included everyone remember the big speech in Woodford Square after the WI Federation defeat. He went back to his base constituents and castigated a whole race that had members in his party.

    I think that this author should state that he is not writing commentary but pushing party politics.

  8. Dr Cudjoe, your mom not only qualifies for the Central Bank post, she also is worthy of a position with CL Financial. Hell, if a mere secretary could be responsible for making serious financial decisions at CL Financial, and paying herself millions of dollars to boot, your mother is entitled to the same.

    There is a certain ethnicity in Trinbago, that needs to stand erect, because once people stand erect, they’ll throw people off their backs. For people to ride a people, they have to be bent over. Hopefully, in 2015 we shall see an end to this widespread, racist corruption.

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