‘Too many Africans in Police Service’

Race talk hampering Police Service

By Clint Chan Tack
March 26, 2011 – newsday.co.tt

Nizam MohammedTHE ability of the Police Service to win the support of the population in the war against crime in the country is being hampered by the perception of ethnic imbalance within the service.

Police Service Commission (PSC) chairman Nizam Mohammed made this charge as members of the commission met yesterday with the Municipal and Service Commissions joint select committee (JSC) in the Parliament Chamber of the Red House.

Declaring that he was determined to deal with the issue head-on, Mohammed told JSC members, “then you understand why the guns are being aimed at me.” “We (PSC) need the protection of the Parliament,” he declared.

Mohammed recalled that he has worked amongst police officers for the last 35 years during which many of them expressed their frustrations to him. He also recalled recently receiving a copy of a letter from the president of the Police Social and Welfare Division, Sgt Anand Ramesar, to Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs. In the letter Ramesar asked Gibbs to review the ethnic composition of a promotion advisory board. Ramesar referred to statistics provided from the Director of Personnel Administration. Mohammed revealed that there were no persons of East Indian origin from the ranks of commissioner to senior superintendent. However, he noted there were 21 superintendents of African origin and ten of East Indian origin.

Expressing optimism that the situation will become more balanced following superintendent examinations on Monday, Mohammed declared, “You get the impression that we are not sufficiently mature to look at this. You cannot hope to win the confidence of the public for the police. You cannot hope to revive or restore the confidence of the public in the police service if you do not have a properly structured police service,” he added.

Observing that nearly half of the population is of East Indian origin, Mohammed said, “You are asking them to support the Police Service. They have to provide the Police Service with information. They have to feel protected by the police service when they see the hierarchy of the Police Service.”

Health Minister Therese Baptiste-Cornelis, said she felt uncomfortable with the use of ethnic classifications in any job description. Stating that she was neither of African nor Indian descent, Baptiste-Cornelis said: “I consider myself a Trinbagonian.” Opposition Senator Shamfa Cudjoe asked Mohammed whether he was advocating some type of affirmative action regarding the structure of the Police Service.



‘Too many Africans in top police posts’
Police Service Commission chairman Nizam Mohammed says there are too many Africans in the hierarchy of T&T Police Service and he intends to address the issue with assistance from the Parliament.

Nizam Cries Race
‘Too many Africans in Police Service’

UPDATES: March 27, 2011

Nizam must go
ASSISTANT Commissioner of Police Fitzroy Fredericks last night called for the immediate removal of chairman of the Police Service Commission Nizam Mohammed over racial statements Mohammed made on Friday.

Gibbs: There’s no room for issues of colour and race
Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs yesterday disagreed with statements made by chairman of the Police Service Commission Nizam Mohammed on Friday that the composition of the executive of the Police Service does not reflect the society. Mohammed said there were too many officers of African descent who are in leadership roles within the service, compared to their East Indian colleagues, and he intended to change such with the assistance of Parliament.

Three PSC commissioners blank Addison Khan
TENSIONS have been brewing among members of the Police Service Commission, as lobby groups and members of the public intensify calls for the removal of chairman Nizam Mohammed.

Not as PSC chairman
Doubts about his fitness for office as Police Service Commission chairman, harboured and expressed from the moment of Nizam Mohammed’s appointment, and heightened through his distasteful personal encounter with beat police officers, hardened into certainty on Friday. Whatever useful role Mr Mohammed may be capable of playing in T&T’s public affairs, it cannot be as PSC chairman.

Fixin’ T&T: Perilous to deny rights
Officials from Fixin’ T&T, an independent lobby group, yesterday described statements made about the organisation by chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Nizam Mohammed as “unfortunate and perilous” and an attempt to deny citizens of their right to freedom of expression.

UPDATES: March 28, 2011

Jack slams Nizam: I would have resigned
NOT ONLY has the controversial comments of Nizam Mohammed, chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), triggered outrage and condemnation, they have offended and hurt Government Minister Jack Warner.
“I feel offended because if you look at the history of the Police Service, you would understand that even in the old days when you couldn’t get people to work in the police service, we had to go to Barbados to get police officers to work here because nobody wanted to work in the Police Service and therefore what we have now evolved over time,” Warner added.

…Police Execs: Nizam’s comments ‘insipid at best’
Members of the police executive and first division officers were yesterday unanimous in their condemnation of statements made by head of the Police Service Commission Nizam Mohammed.

…Asst CoP: Recipe for division in Police Service
Admitting that racial tensions exist within the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, Assistant Commissioner of Police Fitzroy Fredericks said the statements made by Police Service Commission (PSC) chairman, Nizam Mohammed, were only “fueling fire.”

…Executive members want Nizam out
MEMBERS of the executive of the Police Service yesterday issued a call for chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Nizam Mohammed to be removed from office.

…COP calls for resignation
THE Congress of the People (COP) has called for the resignation of Nizam Mohammed as chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), saying there could be a rise in racial tension among citizens as a result of a statement he made before a Joint Select Committee last Friday.

…Statements border on sedition—Ramesh

…Racial remarks made after police interviews
Secretary of the Police Second Division association Sgt Michael Seales yesterday dismissed a call by Asst Commissioner of Police Fitzroy Fredericks for the executive of his association to resign, claiming Fredericks had no grounds to issue that call and should be disciplined for his statements.

…Comments can spark healthy debate
HOUSING and Environment Minister Roodal Moonilal yesterday said the controversial comments by Police Service Commission (PSC) chairman Nizam Mohammed were part of a legitimate issue which could be placed on the front burner to bring about healthy debate.

UPDATES: March 29, 2011

Govt Blast Nizam
GOVERNMENT yesterday blasted statements made by Police Service Commission (PSC) chairman Nizam Mohammed of an apparent ethnic imbalance within the Police Service. The Government’s condemnation was contained in an unsigned statement bearing the title “Office of the Prime Minister, 13-15 St Clair Avenue, St Clair.”

Govt condemns Nizam’s statements as divisive and reckless
President George Maxwell Richards appears to have no choice but to remove Nizam Mohammed as chairman of the Police Service Commission. Yesterday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the leader of the Government who promised a new kind of politics, roundly criticised Mohammed, in effect clearing the path for his dismissal.

It was reckless, unwise

Ghany: Now there’s fear
Nizam Mohammed’s statement regarding racial imbalance in the hierarchy of the T&T Police Service has re-ignited the fear of the “East Indian agenda”.

Warner: He should resign

COP to Kamla: Move Nizam

COP calls on Kamla to remove PSC chairman

Seetahal: He’s not fit to lead

President calls in Rowley
As public pressure mounts for the removal of Nizam Mohammed as the chairman of the Police Service Commission, President George Maxwell Richards is to meet with Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley to discuss the controversy today.

Rowley meets President today

Bas: Probe imbalance claims
Former prime minister Basdeo Panday says claims of ethnic imbalance in the society should be investigated and dealt with.

Sharma comes to Nizam’s defence

Sharma: Calls for resignation premature

Sharma: Quit calls premature

Philbert: What discrimination?
Justice Minister Herbert Volney said yesterday that employment at national state institutions should always reflect the face and image of the nation, in terms of ethnicity, religious persuasions and politics. He added that any institution that is not balanced in that way will never repose public confidence in it.

Dumas joins call for Nizam to go

CWU: PM should move to revoke his appointment

Ramesar denies raising race issue
In a telephone interview with the Express, Ramesar confirmed he sent the letter after a complaint was received by one member. He emphasised, however, that he never raised any issue with respect to the ethnic composition of the Police Service. Rather, he said his letter called for ethnic equilibrium of the police promotion advisory board.

It’s not CoP says Police Service
The composition of the Police Service Promotions Advisory Board is determined by the Police Service (Amendment) Bill 2007 and not by the Commissioner of Police.

A desire for equality
The recent remarks of Police Service Commission (PSC) chairman Nizam Mohammed, in relation to the perceived ethnic imbalance in the police service, has resulted in an interesting, if not unexpected, reaction from the PNM and other sources. The statement by Mr Mohammed is not as controversial as it seems, since those from the ethnic Indian community have long since complained of discrimination from successive ethnic African (mainly PNM) dominated executives, police and other public services.

Nizam’s numbers
It was Nizam Mohammed, as the Speaker of the House, who reintroduced the mace to Parliament in 1987. And though centuries before Oliver Cromwell famously dissed the mace as “a fool’s bauble”, last Friday Nizam looked like Cromwell, the Lord Protector. By the time it was over, a bauble, even one of a fool, might have been a place of safe retreat.

Something is amiss
Once again we are faced with a rush to turn the focus away from a central issue and engage instead in personalities.

52 thoughts on “‘Too many Africans in Police Service’”

  1. suppose this is true !!!! Should a Dictionary be used to show an imbalance ? Any thinking person with a little discernment will see an imbalance in the Police Service….army too …

    1. What about the hospitals?Yuh think this is what is responsible for the best service at the hopitals? Just think ,all those bad C-Sections could have been avoided if there were less Indian doctors.

  2. The Most racist party in T&T has always been UNC. Passing off the cultural baggage of that party unto the PNM is no different than you guys passing off your heritage of racial and color prejudice unto blacks. The leadership of UNC came from a culture where racial and color prejudice was historically endemic, and infused into religious interpretation. The leadership of the PNM came from a culture that was the victim of historical prejudice from all segments of the human population. Take the log out of your eye before you point to the twig that is in others’

    Indians came to T&T in voluntary indentureship, fleeing poverty and prejudice in the lands of their birth. But surprise, surprise, after they got here and saw Africans, their attitudes reverted to what it was against those in their homeland with the same physical characteristics. They felt they were one up on the ladder of human worth in the Caribbean, because they shared more with the Europeans than they did with the former slaves. And that pattern of group ranking has not changed, only today the strategy used to cement it is to holler racism while practising it in its most vile form.

    Racial prejudice is a product of religious and cultural belief systems that argue that some people are naturally superior and others are naturally inferior. This is a cultural precept that is shared among the groups in this world whose culture and history is inundated with this thought process. Racism was an invention to butress the group ego of people. Check for its originations, its historical practices, and you will find who are most likely to be racist. Racism was brought to T&T, and applied against the two enslave groups in the Caribbean. THey are the only two groups who did not bring this odious baggage to our nation, or did not practise it as a historical belief system. Look in the mirror Rampersaud, that culture is yours nor ours.

  3. i do not know whether the statements made by mr. mohammed are based upon racism, or a genuine lack of equal opportunity within the police service. in order to come to this decision one must consider the number of persons of east indian descent who are in the police service as opposed to the number of persons of african origin. when this is considered, equity, not equality, may be sought. one cannot look at the entire population of trinidad and tobago in order to determine how many high ranking persons of indian descent should be in the police force. additionally, if mr. mohammed is suggesting affirmative action within the police service he should promote it within the other public and private sector organizations within the country since there are many racial and gender inequalities, especially in the highest positions in govermental and non governmental businesses, organizations, and corporations.

  4. Let us, for the sake of argument, take this issue back to UWI, class of 1967, students taking history s a subject. There were four women in the group of about 40. One was a young lady last named Shah, one was named Ali and one was Mrs. Kamaludin Mohammed. The fourth was myself. You could call me anything but Indian originated.
    There was not a single Hindu girl in that group. They were still not yet fully into public life.
    I remember this well because I used t coach Mrs. Mohammed on some of the things covered in the classes. She was a slower reader than myself, and I enjoyed doing this because it was reinforcement for myself. I also coached two older women of African origins, in the literature classes, but tht is another issue.
    That was the cass, which, in the second yer of studies, brought in all the evening students to be full time day students, at tremendous cost to the nation, but we needed more trained teachers at a higher level. In the class ow, were two police oficers,moved in from the evening classes.Officer Fernandez, and officer Richardson Henry, deceased. Both were at the rank of Asst. Supt.Neither was an Indian. Both had invested two years of evening classes, while doing full time jobs, and at their own expense, then the government included them in the day classes Someone looking at the police service representation in that UWI class, may have lamented the absence of women- there was not a single woman police officer taking evening classes in tht batch, and the absence of Indians. There were no indians in the police ranks maybe beyond corporal.
    When one looks at the result down the road, its easy to jump in the face of the nation and yell race. Mrs. Mohammed used her deree for her own self improvement. One of the others married a professor and became a housewife.
    Even way back when I was in elementary chool, people of Indian ancestry, particularly Hindus, did not mix socially with others and would not have gone into the police service. In my class at Cumuto RC school, there were four of us who were always at the top of the class switching places every test. Neville Cahi became a doctor- his parents owned the grocery store, and could afford medical scholl, Monica Lee went into banking, again using family connections. Her father was Chinese, her mother Indian, Lazeena, my close friend, became ill every time she had a major exm, so her family bouht her a clothing and fabric store in Baataria. Mr.Waj was wealthy. My family sent me into teaching, its what our women tended to do, if they were smart.
    How much of this was due to race? none. Had neville Chai’s father not had the means, no matter how smart, he could not have become a doctor.Had Lazeena’s parents not invested in her, she may have become just a houewife, despite the fact that she was very smart.(I used her, fictitiously, as the Muslim housewife in one of my novels, who is smarter than her husband, but has to keep quiet to protect his ego).
    In more recent times, Hindu young women have emerged from behind the orhni, and gone to school. The Lakshmi Girls Clege across from UWI, stands testimony to the fact that they want equality and separateness at the same time. As I said in the first commentary on this post, Indians choose cricket over soccer, but when the Soca Warriors were awarded money for making it to the World Cupin 2006, there was a hue nd cry about doing the same for the cricket team. Nobody asked for equality for the netball team.

    Mr. Nizam Mohammed, in the long tradition of Muslim scholars, who gave us Algebra and a number of other breakthroughs, should have kept his mouth shut, until he looked into why things are the way they are.

  5. We are all Trinidadians and have the right to employment.
    We work hard for academic and other qualifications,why is race a factor in becoming employed?
    If one has to comment on race we will need to visit the banks,the supermarket owners,business owners,hospitals,and the list goes on to show racial imbalance in ALL area of employment in Trinidad and Tobago.’
    So please Trinidadians, let us be civilised and make Trinidad and Tobago a safer place for the generations to come!
    ‘May God bless our Nation’

  6. Plot Against Me
    Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Nizam Mohammed believes there is a political plot by some members of Government to hound him out of office to prevent him from bringing changes to the composition of the Police Service.

    …President summons Nizam

    …Nizam meets Prez today

    …Questions still hang over Richards’ role

    …Khan not authorised to talk
    Israel Khan SC has no authority to speak on his behalf or lend advice to him, says chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Nizam Mohammed.

    …Israel Khan: The Pandora’s box Nizam opened

    …Israel Khan: Nizam opened a Pandora’s Box

    …’I was misrepresented, I’m no racist’
    These were the words of chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Nizam Mohammed who believes the public outrage and condemnation over his comments and concerns of an ethnic imbalance in the Police Service were uncalled for.

    …Nizam controversy in House today

    …Nizam fireworks expected in House today
    THE controversy involving chairman of the Police Service Commission Nizam Mohammed is expected to be a major focus of parliamentary attention as the House of Representatives meets today to debate the nomination of Mervyn Cecil Richardson to the office of Deputy Commissioner of Police.

    …NJAC joins call to revoke appointment
    The National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) has joined the call for chairman of the Police Service Commission Nizam Mohammed to be held accountable for statements he made about the paucity of East Indians at the top echelons of the Police Service.

    …Anil to PSC head: Be a big man and resign

    …’Mr Mohammed a big man who knows what to do’

    …Lies, damned lies and statistics

  7. What continues to shock me is the sheer crassness(coining a word here) of so many of the appointments of the PeePee people. Reminds me of the first Italian parliament after unification, where the members could not speak the same language, and resorted to fisticuffs, and the first Indian Prliament after independence, where a number of delegates, new to city life, urinated from the second floor balcony of the spanking new Parliament Building during the intermission. We need a “school of class” to teach behaviour and when to keep your mouth shut, to a bunch of knuckleheads determined to insult as many people as they can, because they think they can. NO ONE could ever say PNM members behaved like this.Naipaul’s picture of the “Indian Gentleman ” who had no wife, so brought his daughter to the Governor’s Dinner Party, and used one spoon to drink the soup”one for me, one for you” , blowing it cool as he fed them both; comes to mind. I used to laugh painfully at that depiction of us, but these new folks are no laughing matter, but seemingly, international clowns.

  8. Now that Nizam’s Sh.t has hit the fan, everyone in the government looking for an aluminum umbrella to hide under, including Kamla.If she had the “Balls”, “Guts”, or whatever it is we think gumption oozes from she would have said thus:

    Your Excellency, Mr. President, it is the considered opinion of the majority of this cabinet, that Mr. Nizam Mohammed’s remarks; quote”…” have irreparably harmed the possibility of this government moving forward as an all inclusive party for the new Trinidad and Tobago we spoke of. The constant buzz in the media, and the sensitivity of the reforms needed to create a police service where discipline will again be the watchword, cannot go forward, because Mr. Mohammed no longer enjoys the confidence of this government, and his board members. His talk of “feeling threatened” may have set race relations back fifty years or more, to the time when the Indian parties opposed Independence from Britain.I therefore urge you sir, to withdraw this appointment that we recommended so recently, as his continued preence in that post will prevent us from functioning as we planned.That he has created a following of his own after these unfortunate remarks, further threatens to divide this beautiful nation.

    I urge your excellency to act promptly to revoke this appointment.

    Kamla Bissessar
    Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

    Madame, you can copy this. I win awards for my writing, and I assure you that receiving this letter from you will bring an end to this mess.
    The government is stuck in responding to “nizamgate” No one person is That big.

  9. Since Madame Kamla ent seem to be taking me one and sending a new letter to Mr. Prez, I suggest that The Express get the numbers of police recruits last year and break them down thus
    North, East(Arima/Grande) Central, South.
    Indian MAles, Indian females
    African originated males , African originated Females
    Religion: Catholic, Anglican, Spiritual Bptist, Muslim, Jehovah Witnesses, Hindu.
    Level of education required. % of each race and sex who passed the test.

    With this information, when next we recruit a batch of people, for every ten officers there must be, one Indian Male Hindu, One Indian Female Hindu, One Muslim Male, One Musim Female,(could be Indian or African, the African Muslims were there first) Half a Chinese, scion of a Chinee and Portugese ating, preferably named De Leon or DeSousa or something obviously not British. One Cathlic Male African , One Anglican Female African(since Indians could be in these groups, but African cannot be hindus., One Spiritual Baptist Female African,One Jehovah Witness male African..The last of the ten should be part white, part Amerindian, part Middle-Eastern, from the “potick” tradition, and part immigrant from another island.
    In the group there should be both gays ad straight of both genders.Two should have college degrees, at least, and two others should be early identified as “management potential”.

    We might need a computer to sort these new recruits out. If no Hindu or Muslim young women apply, pass a law on Friday evening, get three readings, and conscript them into the service so we could have “Balance.”
    Effective policing would be quite another matter entirely. We could end up with every arrestee yelling race nad wanting to be arrested only by his own kind.

    Our tangled web of racial politics would then be complete. If one person resigns or gets killed, that person can only be replaced by someone exactly like him or her.If somebody not smart enough to take the test, they must cheat only by having their own kind take the test for him or her. Sweet, sweet Trinidad. Sweet Pee-Pee people taking us backwards by giant leaps.Sweet craziness.

  10. No decision following meeting between President and PSC chairman
    This, however, does not mean he is off the hook as the Express understands both sides will seek legal advice, and discussions will continue. Until a decision is made by Richards, Mohammed heads back to work.

    Nizam: I’ll Be at Work

    Nizam keeps his job
    Nizam Mohammed’s appointment as chairman of the Police Service Commission has not been revoked and he has not resigned.

    PM: Not appropriate to comment at this time
    Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday that she did not know that the appointment of Police Service Commission Chairman Nizam Mohammed was not revoked.

    Ball in President’s court
    The attempts of government to remove two high-ranking public officials from office—former chief justice Sat Sharma and former Speaker of the House Occah Seapaul—both of whom chose not to step down amidst public condemnation, need to be considered in light of the unknown future the chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Nizam Mohammed now faces.

    PNM knocks Mohammed

    Opposition: Revoke ‘incompetent’ appointment
    As expected, chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Nizam Mohammed came under fire at the Parliament sitting yesterday, with Opposition members insisting his appointment be revoked.

    What is the remit of the PSC?
    After the now infamous contribution of Nizam Mohammed during the hearing of the Joint Select Committee of Parliament the Chairman of the Committee made the observation that the Committee would like to see whether the Police Service Commission (PSC) was achieving the benchmarks they had set in terms of efficiency and effectiveness “which is the core of the discussion today”. That statement was instructive as it should have served to remind Mr Mohammed (and his fellow Commissioners) what the function of the PSC was meant to be.

  11. I don’t care what race that makes up the majority of Policemen and Women in T&T.. Just want the crime rate to dissipate a little.. A whole generation of youths are dying before our eyes and no protest like the ones we have witnessed in the Arab countries. We all have to be held accountable for the failure of the system, because we did nothing. I would like another Randolph Burroughs in the making.. me he be black or of Indian decent. Just bring back the mindset of him.

  12. Mr. Nizam Mohammed has a perception that there are not enough Indians in the police service.

    My own perception is that: There was blatant mischief in his voicing an opinion about that issue, while at the same time turning a blind eye to ethnic imbalances in other Government of Trinidad and Tobago, (GOTT) services such as the Medical sector, which has a marked deficiency of Negro Doctors.

    (Around Apr 6, 2011, Health Minister Therese Baptiste-Cornelis, said at a post-Cabinet press conference that as at December 2010, there was a shortage of 275 medical staff, 2,517 nurses and 161 pharmacists, making a total shortage of 2,953 personnel in the health sector. She said this Government had brought down these figures “but not enough”. Baptiste-Cornelis said in an effort to address this acute deficit of workers in the health sector, Cabinet in November 2010 had agreed to the hiring of additional personnel).

    This is lip service. The Minister of Health, and The Council of the Medical Board (MBTT), and Medical Professionals Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MPATT), which are both comprised of essentially the same persons, and who are mostly East Indians, has made no real effort to address this acute deficit of workers, Negroes, et al. Both the Minister and MBTT/MPATT are in fact working together to maintain the deficit, by continuing a program of harsh and oppressive measures against Negroes to keep them out of the Medical Profession. The program starts by denying admissions of Negroes into the UWI Faculty of Medical Sciences, although the Negroes meet the academic requirements; and the program continues by denying admission of Negro doctors into jobs after they qualify at universities outside of Trinidad and Tobago, including Cuban Universities. The Accredition Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT) accredited the Cuban Universities before accrediting UWI.

    These anti-Negro sentiments were clearly expressed last year when the Minister chose to propagate a rumour, a nebulous MBTT/MPATT concoction that Cubans don’t speak English, by presenting it as her argument for ending the Service of the Cuban Medical Brigade to Trinbagonians, (many of the Cubans are Negroes), while she turned a deaf ear to the facts that the official language of Doctors educated in India, is Hindi; in Pakistan, it is Urdu; in Philippines, it is Tagalog. It was in this April, when the Minister realised that only Cuba had a surplus of Doctors, that she extended their services.

    MBTT/MPATT has been resisting the entry of the Cuban Medical Brigades into Trinidad and Tobago from the start. So much so that The Medical Board Act 35 of 1960, had to be amended for The People of Trinidad and Tobago to receive much required health care from the Cubans. The amendment exempted the Cubans from having to write additional exams before they could practice medicine here.

    MBTT/MPATT now extends the exemptions (from writing exams), to Indian, Pakistani, and Philipino Doctors, but not to Nigerian Doctors, and not to Trinbagonian Doctors (who are mainly Negroes) who studied the same Medical Sciences at the same Cuban Universities, as the Cuban doctors here. As a result of the above, while Health Minister Therese Baptiste-Cornelis, is professing to address the acute deficit of 275 doctors in the health sector, these Trinbagonian Doctors (Negroes) by not being granted equal opportunity, have been kept out of the work-force, in violation of their Constitutional Rights, and the Equal Opportunity Act 69 of 2000.

    My own further perception is in agreement with views expressed by today’s panel, that the root cause of these and other ethnic imbalances in GOTT services lies in bad governance.

    As President Obama learned from last year’s Deepwater Horizon Disaster: Technical problems and resulting accidents do not just happen. They are caused by people, organizations and systems of organizations interacting. The Minerals Management Service (MMS), was a government agency (like MBTT) which had the responsibility of regulating an industry, could not at the same time (like MPATT, the alter ego of MBTT) have the responsibility of collecting billions of dollars from the same industry. This mingling of distinct statutory responsibilities—each of which required different skill sets and fostered different institutional cultures—like the mixing of oil and water, led to internal tensions and a confusion of goals that weakened the agency’s effectiveness.

    It is disappointing to know that while most of us “have passed that stage”, there are some ethnocentrics who have not, and what is worse is that they hold political power. Unless the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, (GOTT) ceases and desists from these practices of bad governance, and replaces vested interest bodies, like MBTT/MPATT, with independent bodies like the ACTT, inevitably, we will all find ourselves in Deepwater.

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