Disowning one’s responsibility
Leadership is one quality that is not worn easily. It has its responsibilities and it can be a costly thing. Not everyone can be a leader. Some people are natural leaders because they fit easily into the role of accepting responsibility. However, there are those who profess to be leaders but would desert their men at the first time of problems.
Sometimes, people have to be trained to become leaders. They are exposed to the various levels and promoted according to the qualities they display. These are often the people described as being forged into leadership positions.
We have often seen cases where leaders quit jobs because the people they led failed to behave responsibly and brought shame to the unit. One recent example was the case of Yog Mahadeo of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company. The senior management of the company mounted an investigation into reports of irregularity.
There were reports that the telephone company had engaged in irregular financial practices with people at the state-owned National Communications Network and the team came down to Guyana. Four men were found culpable and Mr Mahadeo immediately resigned. He declared that the irregularity occurred under his watch and he was therefore culpable.
In the United States yesterday a Roman Catholic functionary was sent to jail for three to six years because he presided over some priests who molested young boys. The court found that he was complicit, that he was responsible for the men and although he did not molest any young boy he simply shifted the errant priests.
A captain aboard a cruise liner was sanctioned most severely when the vessel ran aground. He was the head of the vessel. Government Ministers in some countries have resigned over situations that affected their areas of work although they were not really culpable.
And so we come to the recent episode of the shooting to death of three people in Linden. Ron Somerset, Selwyn Boyea and Allen Lewis were shot dead during the first day of the protest in Linden, against the hike in electricity rates.
Someone had to give the orders to shoot. Even worse, someone had to authorize the use of live rounds. The senior officer was Superintendent Clifton Hicken. Indeed, Hicken was the officer in charge of what occurred in Linden. Even if he were not in the mining community he had to be aware of the situation because Linden is not a remote community with difficult communication systems.
The situation started from sunrise and one can rest assured that the people on the ground were reporting to the police hierarchy almost every hour. Hicken was there and if he were in the Mackenzie Police Station then he would have been aware of every move his men made. He would have been issuing instructions.
The Minister of Home Affairs who in recent times adopted a hands-on attitude with the police force would have been made aware of everything. It was the Home Affairs Minister who caused an Assistant Commissioner to be sanctioned because he dared to be critical of the other officers in the force. And the Minister justified his actions.
It was the Minister who defended the police force when the media zeroed in on some corrupt or perceived acts of corruption. He said that the buck stopped at his door. For him to deny that he had no say is to suddenly tell the nation that he was not in control of the police force. If the latter is the case then he was misleading the nation all along.
If it is that he is a leader who would abandon his post at the first sign of trouble then he should never have been a Minister with such a responsibility and should therefore be removed with immediate effect.
If he was left in the dark while the police committed their irregularities then he must still accept responsibility. He should resign because that would at least be the decent thing to do.
If indeed the police acted precipitately and without the permission of the superiors then one is left to wonder at the heavy presence at the post mortem. Does someone have something to hide?