Kaieteur News – This column has always advanced the view that while a President must not surround himself with sycophants and it is necessary for him to benefit from a diverse range of opinions, any President must be careful that those who surround him do not bring shame, disgrace or dishonour to his office.
The respectability of the office depends on many things. It depends on the honesty and integrity of the office-holder. A president must be a person whose word must be trusted and who can be relied upon to honour his commitments and promises.
The respect of a president’s office also depends on the actions of the office-holder. What he does or does not do or how he deals with failures or success, all have a bearing on the level of respect that the office will be shown by the public.
However, it is also true that the office of the presidency can be looked down upon because of the actions of persons who are associated with this office whose behaviour, whether condoned or not, can have the effect of embarrassing the presidency.
This is why it is very important that any president pay keen attention to the type of individuals with whom he or she surrounds himself or herself, lest the actions of these individuals detract from the image of the office.
No employer likes too much controversy and more so, when this controversy does not concern the business of the company, but rather has to do with the private actions of its employees. Bad publicity, whether perceived to be fair or unfair, is not good for business and therefore, the boss has to often assess to what extent his company is being detracted and harmed by adverse publicity occasioned by the actions of his employees.
By now, it should be evident that when you hold public office, your private actions are as equally scrutinised as your public ones and thus, everything that you do is expected to be held to a higher standard and is subject to public interest.
Thus, those in high office should ensure that those with whom they surround themselves, act in a manner that would bring respect rather than embarrassment and shame. Those persons that hold high office must hold their stewards accountable for their actions, for if they fail to do this, the public is going to hold the high office-holders accountable for their failure to act.
There is also a need for us to address issues frontally rather than engage in diversions. There is an uncanny tendency within certain sections of officialdom to divert their own failures by engaging in character smearing.
One of the tactics that has often been used is to cast unsubstantiated insinuations against those with whom we have issues or those whose success breeds envy. This character assassination is also used to excuse shortcomings or failures.
One recalls an incident many years ago – a businessman was shot during a spike in crime. A top police official when asked about the matter said that the businessman was involved in illegal activities. The publisher of this newspaper was forced to ask what that had to do with the failure of the police to solve the crime.
Instead of dealing with the problem, insinuations are dropped to excuse failures. And it continues to this day. Even now, we hear persons instead of dealing with the issues, wishing to drop insinuations as to how this and that person acquired wealth.
As for those with pretensions to superstar status, remember that a star is often at its brightest just before its burns out.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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