Mayor Narine has a problem: People firmly entrenched on the inside do not want change

Dear Editor,

The mayor has a problem.  Connectivity is one for starters.  Culture could be another.  Concern is still another over his heavy presence.  I feel sorry for him; he might be a man alone.  I wonder what are his options?

I could understand, even overlook, an instance of, shall I say, genuine lapse or shortage.  But more than one such development, and I have to question.  I must condemn, even though I did not vote; didn’t know the man before his public ascension and now occasionally pained appearances.  I think his heart is in the right place, as to his responsibilities; he means well for this city and harbours intentions that can only be described as positive.  That is part of the problem, a major part, with Mayor Ubraj Narine.

Increasingly, I get the impression that he is out of step with the rest of the not as senior citizens in the new municipal administration.  Remember that word from a moment ago: connectivity.  I am trying to say this gently in these politically correct times, even though I am terrible at that nonsense.  It is clear to me, from a distance, that quite a number of the officials and powers and panjandrums (they do make a mockery of themselves and residents) firmly entrenched at City Hall are too set in the old ways.  The sweet ways.  The irresponsible ways.  The dirty and corrupt and stinking ways that leave the city smelling.  Remember that other word that I shared before: culture.

People firmly entrenched on the inside do not want change.  Why?  For whom?  To them, matters distill to that meaningful alpha and omega of: what is in it for me?  Always does.  Always did.  Still do.  Even after all of the ugly fallout of not too long ago.  I sense that the new mayor is learning-slowly, torturously, embarrassingly-to navigate his way through the labyrinth that is City Hall.  Because at City Hall, Hizzoner finds himself in an almost identical place and state to that of one which I was compelled to describe in the following creole lingo: he is in a snake pit cushioned on an ants’ nest surrounded by pimpla bush.  The translation is simple: the snakes are waiting for the unwary and unacculturated, and when the ants are agitated, the snake is roused to attack intruders, and when those innocents seek cover, there is the waiting welcoming fingers of the pimpla bushes.  In other words, the mayor has nowhere to go.  He steps forward and he becomes a problem.  He peeps into forbidden corners, and he is a bigger problem.  There is nowhere to run, but into trouble. I should know.

I hear the not unreasonable circumstance of machines and men out of alignment.  Happens.  The Americans have a pungent expression for that one, as in that thing that hits the fan.  But so often?  So conveniently?  So unpersuasively?  From my viewpoint (it might be lowly, but it is a tax honouring one), when these unfortunate, and hopefully unpremeditated accidents occur, there is a certain protocol that has to be followed.

The phone is picked up, a person-to-person call is made, and either an explanation or regrets are conveyed.  It is the way of true professionals, of those who operate on the strength of functional respect, if not appreciation.  On something as important as a statutory meeting, I would have recommended getting up, separating self from the myriad tasks momentarily, and walking across the floor or distance and personally deliver apologies for not being able to share an agenda, or one in a timely manner.  It is what I would do.  There is a certain touch.  Washes away the slips and stings of before; leads to rapport, and (who knows) a cordial working relationship.  One based on mutual regard and reciprocal trust.

Editor, this only works where there is warmth and receptivity and appreciation for what the end objectives are.  I think that the not-so-well disguised hostility (or coolness) to the new man in the new role furnishes evidence that the mayor and most of municipal mighty (they still are, or believe they are untouchable) are not singing from the same hymn book.  I will be so bold as to offer some unsolicited, but well-intentioned advice to the first citizen.  Do not get too far in front of the others.  In the army and war, the few generals who do so by pushing ahead too far and too fast usually end up on the causalities list.

I have tried to be tactful, even though it is not due.  I would hope that there is no attempt at spinning a reply.  That would add insult to injury.  For clearly, the mayor is the odd man out.  I wish him and others of like mind the best.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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