Features — 06 January 2018 — by Colin Hyde
Rak to lead substanceless UHS Enquiry

CJ: Hello, hello, just call me a, the concerned journalist (CJ), okay. I’m here with this High Level Red Operative (HLRO) who’s going to give us the scoop on the latest story about the UHS scandal, open paki, fish from riva batam, the whole deal. Let’s start this story when your party became head dog, HLRO. You brought a theft charge against Muster and Funster for diverting the money from Venezuela and Taiwan—tell us, what really was the deal with that?

HLRO: First of all, we had nothing to do with such case. That’s all rumor. Poppycock. The legislature has no control over the judiciary. It was some overzealous someone in the prosecution branch that brought that charge. No, no, there never was any discussion in our camp about bringing such a ridiculous charge against that duo. Our legal luminaries would never have wasted our resources on anything so pointless.

CJ: You have decided to hold an enquiry now, in 2018. Why didn’t you deal with that business in 2008? You know that this wait until 2018 makes this very serious matter look nothing more than a political gimmick. You’ve heard of locking the barn when the cow done gaan. Of course, your party can get some political mileage from an enquiry. But there’s nothing Belize First about it.

HLRO: You’ve heard the saying: what’s good for the party is good for the country. Everything about it is Belize First.

CJ: Only in a warped democracy, HLRO, only in a warped democracy. Let me read this document, this paper the third force of Belize sent to the Cabinet immediately you came to power in 2008.

There is a sound reason why we can’t hold back this enquiry until 2018. If we wait until then, this madamonster PUP scam could cost the country a further 50, 60 million. Let us be very clear. This is 2008, and the wise people, La Voz de Dios, have shown the way. They have elected you to do the right thing, and do it now. You must blow open this story. There are things we know that stink to high heaven.

But we must not put all our eggs on court case bikaazn as every Tom, Dick, and Harry know, it is easier to stop a snowball melting in hell than it is to translate factual guilt to legal guilt. That’s why the prosecution branch has such a woeful batting average. So, our first and best scene is to expose this case, open the whitéd sepulcher so to speak, expose the rot to open air.

This shimi shami theft case we’re hearing about won’t do that. We need a commission of enquiry. And don’t forget, the people demand it. It will not be nice. It will be like a bloated decomposing baleen whale burst. The gunk will cover the entire country. But mostly it will settle on PUP houses. Some of them will suffocate, the rot will be so thick upon them.

Of course, you rejected the enquiry and went with the shimi shami case. Now, ten years later, you’re all of a sudden gung ho for the witch hunting. It’s very interesting why you followed a losing court case, but never mind that, I’ve heard you’re set, and that out of all the senators you have to lead the show, you chose Rak.

HLRO: Rak isn’t one of us, you know. We wanted someone independent.

CJ: I’ll get back to that independent bit. Your party has a number of senator talents who have the training to get the job done. For example, there’s Adwin. He’s shown capable in this arena before.

HLRO: Yes, but he doesn’t want to do it. After all that man has done for this country, you wouldn’t believe how many people hate his guts. Completely unelectable. The PUP hate him for working so hard to expose their corruption. The third parties hate him, accuse him of being a sellout, a traitor. And UDPeez hate him for getting all those big Ministries without winning any election. And don’t forget how the Immigration scandal hurt him. Right under his nose. We can’t blame him if he is gun shy.

CJ: And yes, unelectable.

HLRO: That man couldn’t win an election if he was running against himself. Something would pop up to disqualify him.

CJ: Like, maybe too smart?

HLRO: Or too conceited.

CJ: What about Barnadett?

HLRO: A good choice. She got much consideration. But when we thought about it, we prefer her as our star witness. If you can recall, she used to work inside the belly of the blue beast, she and Weight. Aldo is pooped after the recent senate hearings, and that also left his creds thin. Dunksan has too much ambition, and with the Belize Bank involved, there’s also a conflict of interest. McCoy doesn’t have the name recognition. There’s only one left. Rak. I guess the job is his.

CJ: You said he was an independent. Anyway, you forgot someone.

HLRO: Ah, yes—Perez.

CJ: Indeed, why not him? If you think your leader is the baddest thing to come out of Old Lawyer Lindo’s stables, you really haven’t taken a good look at Perez. He used to pass through double digit thousands everyday—wonder how much he’s passing thru now? And he can give a better speech than the old slick one too. Yes, why not him?

HLRO: Too much baggage. Ah, a dozen years after he crumbled the House steps, and shouted “Ram it!”, time should have made him appear—not so partisan. But he’s done so many high profile jobs for the party. Then there is the matter that he doesn’t work for cheap. If this were the old PetroCaribe days we might have been able to afford him. But we still couldn’t give him the job. There’s this matter of the ah—eh—optics.

CJ: What optics?

HLRO: When people see him interrogating the slim, trim, Muster, they’ll wonder who’s the one feeding at the trough.

CJ: He’s not alone. Looks like it goes with the territory. A lot of your operatives have really, really put it on since you got the blues out. But the two 2008 head honchos have handled it well. Though outsiders say their families have done better than all the rest, combined.

HLRO: You just answered your query – outsiders – what do they know?

CJ: Indeed, what do they, we, know? We are in a daze, baffled by your government’s time warp. All the splendid hard work of the political reform committee got turned back. And they’ve watched their champion, the Great Adwin, get sullied by the fallout from your many transgressions. You made us feel so Animal Farm. Poor us, that we were happy that our Guatemalan neighbors got the UNCAC to steer them right, all the while not knowing we needed that UNCAC desperately, maybe even more than they did.

And you know, you seem to be as befuddled by your time warp as we are too. Ha, ha, ha, it’s 2018, and here you are, doing what you should have done in 2008. And you go to the well and bring up Rak to star your committee- imagine, a senator who doesn’t know the difference between a church and the people’s earthly business. Madaz, my man, why Rak?

HLRO: Simple. You can’t beat undivided loyalty cloaked in the Old Testament. Between you and me, he’s one of a crowd we call the Fabulous Five Evangelicals. Rak and Shortsworth are the leaders. It was pure magic. It reminded of David, how they wrested the senatorship from the gang of 200-plus, led by Wed, Storm, and Spear Louis. Indeed, we never thought they could win.

CJ: Some say they had help from outside their ranks.

HLRO: Oh no, no, that battle took place solely between the pews. It’s still a good laugh, how those vanquished bohgaz squealed like pigs on their television station. Ha, ha, God wasn’t on their side. If he was, they’d have the seat in the senate right now.

CJ: I bet the god you speak about has a polished scalp, like Michael Jordan, and he answers to the same first name as the father of the UDP. Damned pity he comes up like Goliath in courts north and east of our border.

HLRO: It happened between the pews, Mr. Journalist. If yu don’t believe me, go ask Shortsworth, Rak, and company. They bested them fair and square.

CJ: And what a good thing for you that they did.

HLRO: Absolutely. What a show this one’s going to be. It will have all the glitter of a circus.

CJ: And no substance because the court done rule. Forget that. Rak will lead it.

HLRO: Absolutely.

Radical candor better than cuss and holler

To my mind, this story, “A former Google and Apple exec says there are 4 ways to lead a team — and 3 are ineffective”, must be just about the best lesson on leadership you’ll ever get. Kim Scott, the CEO of consequence here (and author of the book, Radical Candor), talked to Shana Lebowitz of the Business Insider about four types of leadership -: “obnoxious aggression, ruinous empathy, manipulative insincerity, and radical candor” and tells her that all leaders “should aim for radical candor, meaning you act personally and challenge directly.”

I’m not about to forward myself as any leader of merit. In my time I’ve held some leadership roles, and I’ve held some follower roles, and I’ve been in loner roles, mostly. I’ll keep my input to my first time at the helm, okay. It’s an experience that gave me “perspective”.

In my youth, between 14 and 17, I was the lord of two boys, my younger brother and a younger cousin. I thought the way to get the job done was to cuss the blank out of them. It is possible that they realized I was a pretty darn incompetent fisherman. Whoa, he who would lead must have capacity. My credentials were that I could beat them up, and I was a better seaman. That last, unfortunately, doesn’t add up to fishes on board. We spent much time changing “drops” (fishing spots) to meet our daily quota. This would cause things to get heati. That’s when the rebelliousness began, on more or less every trip. Bad things with boss/employee relationships always start with insubordination. Just by the way, people in the army get shot for that.

I would start cussing. I knew a lot of that because of my neighborhood – the story is that that there were eleven bars and clubs on my lane. My cussing on board ship did have some virtue. It did reinforce who was boss. And no one ever jumped overboard, or stopped fishing.

My crew didn’t adore me and they got their revenge when we were onshore. I was severely handicapped there. I couldn’t swear on the island because my mother was boss on terra firma, and she didn’t tolerate any foul words coming out of my mouth. And, the rebels had a lot more places to run away and hide, than they had on board boat. Poor me, I was handcuffed by my style of management, cuss and beat.

It dawned on me one morning, the terrible ineffectiveness of my captaincy. Things had sunk to a point where I did all the preparation for the trip—get the bait, get the lines, and make sure all the gear was on board. I did all the boat repairs, made sure all the ropes were coiled, the lines untangled, and the boat moored after the fishing trip. Invariably I did most of the fish cleaning too. I could have run to my mom, go to her to do the “leading” for me onshore. But I never thought to do that. I was stupid but I had my honor.

I didn’t change my ways after I got the sense, after I realized that my charges were getting the better of me onshore.

Yes, I was fully aware that I wasn’t getting the best out of my charges. Yes, I was aware that there might be better ways to clean a fish/skin a cat, than cuss and holler. Maybe I enjoyed cussing and hollering. Really, I think my not changing my style had to do more with an inadequacy. I couldn’t adapt; I didn’t have the tools to apply to the different situation on shore.

I one hundred percent accept that CEO Scott knows her business. Scott says that leaders who “tend to challenge directly (insults and so forth), but don’t care personally” are taking up the leadership style called ”obnoxious aggression.” My behavior aboard ship would definitely fall in this category. Scott says that obnoxious aggression “sometimes gets great results short-term but leaves a trail of dead bodies in its wake in the long run.”

We hand over almost completely to Lebowitz from here. Next up is ”ruinous empathy”, characterized by caring personally but not challenging directly (i.e. following the “don’t say anything mean” advice). Scott told Business Insider that this is the most common mistake that managers — and human beings in all relationships — make.

“Because you care, you fail to challenge directly because you don’t want to hurt somebody’s feelings,” Scott told us. “You make a terrible mistake when you don’t give somebody a heads-up when they’re screwing up.”
“We all screw up. It’s actually an act of kindness to tell somebody when they’re screwing up. It’s not mean, and yet we often feel mean.”

The worst place to be is the ”manipulative insincerity” square, characterized by neither caring personally nor challenging directly.

In the book, Scott writes: “People give praise and criticism that is manipulatively insincere when they are too focused on being liked or think they can gain some sort of political advantage by being fake — or when they are just too tired to care or argue anymore.”

Finally, the ideal leadership style is ”radical candor.” It’s when you care personally and challenge directly. It sounds simple, Scott said, but it’s rare in today’s workplace.

“Radical candor” is the most effective of four leadership styles that Scott outlines in the book. Each leadership style, she writes, is a behavior and not a trait — meaning it can be developed. So if you’re currently a mediocre or even a bad boss, you can work on that.

I give a thumbs up to Ms. Scott for her ideas, and a big thank you to Ms. Lebowitz, for reviewing her book. Radical candor might not be perfect for the army, or for running a ship, or for running a football club. But those might be the only places where it might get trumped by other management styles.

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