Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Thursday, November 24, 2005  

Two letters of interest in today's Business Guardian. (It's the Guardian, so no links.)

The first letter, under the headline "Rest in peace, IOB" is from a Dennise Demming, criticising the recent renaming of UWI's Institute of Business as the Arthur Lok Jack School of Business, following Mr Lok Jack's donation of $20 million to the school.

Ms Demming argues that the renaming will only serve to damage the IOB "brand" (to use a contemporary buzzword), and that "the name change reinforces the notion in our society that money can buy anything". She also notes that former parliamentarian and government minister, the late Gordon Draper, was instrumental in the setting up of the IOB and that he is yet to be recognised for this.

I don't know about Mr Draper, but as far as Mr Lok Jack goes, my question is, what has he achieved? Yes, he is a successful businessman, and yes, he's made a sizable donation to one of the country's top institutions of education and research. He's also shown in other ways that he has a real interest in the development of the nation, not something one can usually accuse our businessmen of having.

But with Mr Lok Jack still alive and hard at work among us, can we say what his real accomplishments are and how they should be rewarded? Such a decision takes time, reflection, and consensus--things we admittedly don't care much for round these parts. The naming of things is (or should be) a serious matter, yet we continue to trivialise and politicise such issues, quick to rename buildings and streets every time a beauty queen wins a contest or a sportsman breaks a record.

In a society where long term thinking is practically an offence, the penchant for instant reward is understandable. But we won't build a nation so.

And we won't build a nation if the second letter writer, Eugene A Reynald, has his way. He has some blunt advice for our bright youth: leave.

"The system we have had imposed on us is designed to exclude those who are honest, patriotic and talented. It also does not respond to logic and creates imbalance and frustration in the intelligent....

"Whatever the reason we who stay pay a price daily for the society that we have helped to create by our unwillingness to act. It is, however, unfair to expect our young and talented people--despite the fact that we desperately need them--to stay where they are not valued..."

Over and over again, we singing the same refrain....

posted by Jonathan | 11:44 AM 0 comments


save boissiere house
Bina Shah
Nicholas Laughlin
Caribbean Free Radio
Global Voices
Jessie Girl
Club Soda and Salt
Caribbean Cricket
Jai Arjun Singh
email me