Poor Rolph, Brilliant Rolph

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
Jamuary 16, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoePoor Rolph, or should I say, brilliant Rolph. I do not wish to denigrate Dr. Rolph Balgobin’s name or rush to judgment about any of the charges that have been made against him. I expect justice to run its course since Balgobin has hired the best legal minds to defend his innocence and sustain his reputation.

This is my dilemma: I cannot understand why any society would want to pile so much responsibility on one man or woman even though it does seem as if our women are so favored. Balgobin’s public profile is a thing to behold. Andy Johnson described him as “one of the country’s more connected and powerful men” which is why so many persons feared to interfere where he trod.

Balgobin is the chairman of Quicksilver Convenience Ltd., CL Financial, Angostura, Home Construction Limited and several groups within the CLF Group. He is (or was) a director of the Massy Group of Companies and Republic Bank, the president of Trinidad and Tobago’s Manufacturers Association, a member of the Government’s Economic Development Advisory Board and a member of a Cabinet-appointed committee for the review and assessment of all Special Purpose/Wholly Owned State Enterprises.

How inconvenient (or so Balgobin infers) that charges of sexual harassment should be made, “at a time of a certain significant discovery in Angostura Ltd, ongoing audits and of certain developments in progressing in the resolution of the CLICO/CLF matter with the State.” Arrogantly, he seems to suggest: Why couldn’t these allegations be held back until these matters of state were completed?

One wonders if an evaluation is ever made about the human capacity of these men to fulfill their commitments on these boards. Or, is there blind faith in their magical abilities of “taking night to make day.” Balgobin is also a distinguished fellow in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UWI, St. Augustine (what does this mean?) and a director and research fellow at Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business (ALJGSB). He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Questions: how Balgobin finds time to do all these things? When/what does he research and what is the quality of his output? Given his private/public load does he devote sufficient time to diligently sort out the issues that are brought before the boards of which he is a director and the companies he chairs? Is the public getting its money’s worth for what it is paying him?

Full disclosure: I served with Balgobin for a few months as a director of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. When Ewart Williams was the governor of the Central Bank, the monthly work load was punishing, especially when the bank was faced with so many issues of national importance. It took days to read/study our monthly board papers. I am sure these other boards demand as much time.

On January 10, Angostura “refused McKeel’s [the alleged victim] request for Balgobin to recuse himself from the duration of the investigation but assured that he would not sit on any issue relating to the allegation.” This raises a question: how seriously do companies such as Angostura take these allegations?

On January 11, Dr. Balgobin resigned his directorship at Massy Holdings and ALJGSB. There is no reason to discount that the National Trade Union Center’s (NATUC’s) protest on Angostura’s compound demanding Balgobin’s resignation contributed to these outcomes. It certainly prompted these companies to take a closer look at their [non]action.

Do these companies have an obligation to provide a safe space for female and male workers? How is it possible that so many charges are made against an individual yet s/he continues to wield his/her magic wand of respectability almost with impunity? What responsibility do these high-flying bosses/leaders bear in all of this?

With so few men wielding so much power, might it not be better for the society if these responsibilities were shared among more men and women? Why do we give so few men so much power and responsibility when there are so many more competent men and women in and outside the country who can do as good a job or better? Isn’t it in the national interest if we demystify the power these men hold?

Drawing on an expanded pool of talent, relying on more people, and giving greater responsibility to more experts might be one way to encourage greater participation in national affairs. Using more people will bring more energy, more integrity, and greater productivity to tasks at hand. It might even lead to greater equality.

When I was young and a bowler was bowling one type of ball, my uncle would shout from the sidelines: “mix yo’ meals.” In an age of limited resources, we should say the same thing to our private and public leaders: “Mix the meals.” There is no need why so few men, brilliant as they are, should carry the entire load.

Poor Rolph. Brilliant Rolph. Sometimes there is a thin line between rapaciousness and ability. Like Icarus, perhaps he may have been flying too close to the sun.

Professor Cudjoe’s e-mail is scudjoe@wellesley.edu. He can be reached @ProfessorCudjoe.

One thought on “Poor Rolph, Brilliant Rolph”

  1. Vintage Doc,& quite an intreauging discussion,one might add. Yep ,right up there ,with the same outrage felt by our former top Diplomat, Mr Regenald Dumas,re de possible travel shenanigans, of our Ceremonal President ,’ El Senor Cameo.’


    Can’t say I know anything about this Ralph Balhobin bloke,or really care,about his proposed fate,as I’ve made it a matter of policy,not to loose much sleep ,over the plight of our local elites,when they are caught with their weeny in a zipper,or (in de case of mujeres)their knickers in a twist.
    The reason is simple ,and not the result of some might deem ,any hate per say. They do have the means to take care of themselves,legally,& otherwise.
    It’s however the poor ,desperate, underclass,instead,I worry about,since they cannot even get a low end ,legal aid lawyer ,to represent them ,if caught with a stick of weed,much less,get say , a Kamla personal lawyer,such as Israel Khan,or my old Schoolmate ,Gilbert Peterson ,to bring their case before the Privy Council.As such they are sometimes forced to languish in overcrowed prisons ,awaiting trial.
    The Doc might be on to something though.
    It appears as if this Balgobin creature,bit off more than he can chew.There are ways -for phantom,or real enemies -to bring folks like him, or politically driven ,PSA Duke,back to earth-when they have gotten in de eyes of some ,too big for their breeches.
    The inibility to control their sexual proclivities/keep their pecker in their pantalones,for the sole benefit of their married wives.
    Did anyone mention that UNC (Fake Bramin)former PP MP, Pundit Sharma ,& his little Indo Trini -sex Kitty ,turned high contract,opaque Business Woman- Sasca Singh,lately?
    Yeah ,de same guy,his adoring PM, Auntie Kamla,was forced to fire (while kicking,& screaming )after he almost murdered his financially ambitious filly , in public ,for outing him as an alleged deadbeat dad,for his outside child-as if she cared about such.
    However I digress.
    To the Doc more pertinent concern ,as to how these guys get their lofty position, or more so,” why any society would want to pile so much responsibility on one man…..Andy Johnson described him as “one of the country’s more connected and powerful men?”
    Please Doc Andy Johnson,that same ‘Afro eat ah Food character ,’who sold his putrid journalistic soul ,to Kamla ,for 30 pieces of UNC dominant ,PP silver?
    Last I checked Doc -during here tenure as PM-Kamla could have personally murdered 5 poor ,Afro Trini kids ,from say,de Beetam,Upper Gonzales Belmont ,or Malony , in public,and Andy,would have sang high praises about her ,even as she was led off to rhe gallows ,for caring about the nation Kids.
    In my beat John Agitation voice ,’but Aye aye Doc ,what next,would you be asking how inexperience Rishmi Ramnarine ,got her lofty SIA Security Chief spot,with maybe 2 CXC passes to her credit? Since her National Security boss ,Brig Sandy ,won’t know ,let’s ask Dr Goopiesing,her friendly benefactor ,or Kamla ,her ‘extremely close ,’idol.


    Dare you ask,how de hell, did Wade-MBA -Mark,find time to study ,so as to obtain an MBA,while juggling such a busy scedule, as our House Speaker ,even though,no one who eventually graduated with him,recalled seeing him, a single day in class?
    Would you ask how Kamla Lawyer, Israel Khan ,son David Khan,was able to acquire,much less keep his job to this day, as Inspector of Prisons,yet no one has the cohones ,to ask that he too be fired -the way they are suddenly demanding of Ag Commissioner of Police Williams-even if his stewardship has led to drastic ,downward freefall of our prisons,as guns ,drugs ,and outside contract killings,are now the norm.
    Merely curious but just what became of that excellent ,Private School teacher ,who mysteriously disappeared ,once it became known ,that he was allegedly involved, in a relationship with one of his 15 year old student-who so happened, to have a papa in prison,serving time , for kidnapping?
    I know you don’t wish to know, how an unqualified , Resume ,con artist character, like Fazool Ali Mohammed ,could still slip through de cracks ,to become head of some 1990 Coup Commission ,even after he was vetted ,and given the Green light ,by both( disgraced ) Ag Annan, de Ramgoat lover,and our glorified Economist ,turned do notting Foreign Minister /once relevant COP Deosaran .
    Translation:-When a certain former PM said ,”Dis is our time,”this was what he was referring to Doc. Systemic purges of the Public Service,in favor of incompetent /unqualified cronies ,& families.
    Satuation of our national ,& quasi government boards ,with party hacks,and agenda driven ,tribal minions.
    Not to be outdone,the private sector,willing to ingratiate itself with the state Political powerhouse,will elevate folks such as Balgobin,who would promote their self interest-not that we are suggesting that this was done by his employers.
    As you know Doc,we might not have an entrenched Lobbying system ,as common in Zoo York,Washington,or EU Brussels ,but in T&T ,what we have ,serves a similar purpose.
    Let’s wish Balgobin well,and hope he does not commit Harekare ,due to his fear of prison,where he might also become an abused victim,of a 6ft 10 “,Afro Mandigo,from Pashley Street,or Never Dirty Movant.
    Here are two more relevant question to ask Doc:-What do we do ,when we catch these lying bastards ,who falsify info ,so as to get high end jobs?
    Demand they repay all the money gained ,give them jail time like hardened criminals ,allow persons who were turned away/prevented from acquiring said jobs ,in favor of the conniving,fraudulent culprits ,a crack at filing lawsuit?
    Why was legal luminary Dana Sitahal murdered ,prisongate,or because she hope to address this culturally driven ,ugly social malady?
    If the will exist,we’ll think of ,& do something,si?
    We must admit,that it’s a good thing ,when public pressure ,can force authorities to act,so as to make wrongs right.
    Irrespective of how he got his job,and prevailing perks, if guilty of present accusations,we say good riddance to Ralph Balgobin. May justice take it’s course.


    Always poignant subjects Doc. Continue to play your role ,in keeping thoae previlige ,well placed ,elite, powerbrokers hands ro the symbolic fire.
    Stay Vigilant T&T.

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