Under the best of circumstances, the hiring decision is one of the most difficult of organisational tasks.
Lest we forget, Judas was one of the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus Christ.
In recent times, private sector organisations include background checks and psychometric testing to ensure that employees fit the job profile. Selecting candidates for political office is even more difficult.
Successful candidates must operate in conditions requiring a wide range of skills and personality types, consistent with the performance demands of the specific ministerial assignment while balancing same with the requirements of morality in public life, transparency, accountability and good sense. Indeed, the criteria for successful ministerial performance have never been defined.
One will recall Dr Eric Williams calling candidates chosen by the party’s machinery as millstones demonstrating that the leader’s judgement may not always coincide with that of party officials. Similarly, several questions were raised at the start of 2010 UNC administration when Ms Kamla Persad-Bissessar allowed Mr Jack Warner to retain his international positions in FIFA and Concacaf despite the taint which had begun to surface. Convinced of his expertise, she proceeded to accept the risk associated with his continuing exposure to corruption issues.
Former British Prime Minister Mr John Major in a “BBC Hardtalk” interview in July was asked which candidate he would vote for; Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson.
In response, he explained that the interests of the country must be placed before the interests of the party of which he was a member and former leader. He noted that there will be times when the party’s interest and country’s interest differ, but in those times the country’s interest must prevail as the type of society is influenced by the choices we make, the values we promote and the manner in which we address difficult issues.
In recent times several allegations of corruption or conspiracy and misbehaviour in office have been laid against sitting members of Parliament. Two ministers in Patrick Manning Cabinet resigned office but were exonerated in court. Ministers in both the Rowley and Persad-Bissessar regimes were accused of sexual misconduct and both lost their Ministerial status only after public outcry.
No race or party has a monopoly on moral authority. There will always be people irrespective of race, class, colour, or political affiliation that will seek to use the system, or its weaknesses, to promote their personal interest.
Parliamentarians are human; it is inevitable that in the course of human affairs that some will make errors for which they should lose their ministerial status and in the worst of offences their parliamentary position.
Our political leaders have generally understood that the behaviour of ministers’ matter. How and when leaders respond reflects their grasp of the issues, their judgement and the principles on which they stand.
The unfolding of Ms Marlene McDonald affair is such an opportunity. We await the Prime Minister’s decisive action.