Mon | Sep 23, 2019

Jaristotle's Jottings | Is bhutto behaviour the new norm?

Published:Thursday | August 15, 2019 | 12:08 AM

There is a well-known Jamaican saying that ‘yuh can tek di man outa di bush but yuh caa’n tak di bush outa di man’. As I watch the public service circus playing out, I am constantly embarrassed, to say the least, by the behaviour of many an elected official in various quarters.

Take, for instance, the openly public and bhutto-ish conduct of the mayor of Falmouth whenever he is supposed to interface with the custos of Trelawny. Then, there is the thoughtless behaviour by the president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), evidenced by the attitude displayed towards the well-meaning Cedella Marley in her quest to support the Reggae Girlz, and his publicly expressed support for disgraced former FIFA vice-president, Austin ‘Jack’ Warner.

Trelawny cass-cass

It appears that the mayor of Falmouth, Collen Gager, has lost all sense of decorum, having chosen to adopt behaviour commonly displayed by bhuttos, and in so doing, is routinely disrespectful to the governor general’s representative for the parish. Notwithstanding that he is an elected official, Mr Gager is a public official who should conduct himself in a manner befitting of his position as mayor.

Is that how he would behave if Custos Paul Muschett were to be appointed to act as governor general? There is no place for behaviour of that sort in public service, especially where his antics were on full display in front of children during a recent public event sponsored by the JGRA. What an example he set for those children, tactless and classless behaviour.

Scrimmage

I find it painful that the organisation that is supposed to represent the footballing interests of the country, as in the JFF, is headed by an individual who has a penchant for thoughtless pronouncements and behaviour: it says much to the fact that the organisation needs to be overhauled.

Sponsorship for the Reggae Girlz had apparently dried up when Cedella Marley again came to their rescue, despite being dissed by the JFF executive during the World Cup tournament in France just weeks before. The new sponsorship came with conditions which the JFF rejected as they wanted the sponsorship funds paid into their coffers. Not so, said Ms Marley, quite rightly, citing lack of accountability for previous funding.

When there is no one to say no, anything goes within the organisation. The executive appoints a general secretary, who is invariably little more than a lackey. No one is there to say no to hare-brained schemes and policies, or to rein in a president who suffers from foot in mouth disease. What does that say for the future of football in the country?

Sporting governing bodies such as the JFF ought to have a government-employed professional in the post of general secretary, akin to a permanent secretary or secretary-manager – a gatekeeper who ensures objectivity and probity: no Ali Baba free-for-all.

Think of the embarrassing position Jamaica found itself in when Ricketts publicly expressed sadness at the legal troubles facing ‘Jack’ Warner, the former FIFA bigwig who was at the centre of a massive corruption scandal that shook the very foundation of world football in 2015. Yow, when you are the head of a national organisation, comments such as those send the wrong message to the world: keep such numbskulled sentiments to yourself.

Who is going to rein them in? The late emperor, Haile Selassie, once espoused that evil men thrived because those with the power to stop them did nothing. In like manner, I espouse that bhutto behaviour will become the new norm if those with the power to rein in the offenders sit back and do nothing.

Walk good. Respect always.

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