THE public lecture delivered last week by UWI lecturer, Dr. Tennyson Joseph, warning against the rise of the businessman-turned-politician, has invoked the ire of Prime Minister Allen Chastanet who, in the new-age rating parlance of social media, has ‘disliked’ the theory that businessmen as politicians are bad for society.
Given that both U.S. President Donald Trump and P.M. Chastanet were offered as examples, and with recent knowledge of the President’s outrageous mishandling of the Charlottesville protest, it’s no surprise that Chastanet took offense and branded some of Dr. Joseph’s work as racist, even expressing surprise that he is still allowed to practice teaching by the University of the West indies.
Thankfully, in the wake of that exchange, the Head of the Open Campus, Dr. Veronica Simon, explained the usual conduct of academic research and how differing viewpoints may be presented, challenged and then replaced, a process leading eventually to the improvement of a society.
While it may be a significant stretch to compare our P.M. to the US President, especially given the recent unrest in the U.S. and the questionable response of the President, it is true that the scientific method has allowed false suggestions and ideas to be offered, then later retracted and overcome by more enlightened perspectives and evidence.
The American writer, E. B. White, noted that there is nothing more likely to start disagreement among people or countries than an agreement. Based on the reaction to Dr. Joseph’s recent work, I am reminded of President Obama at a 2008 press conference expressing the view that we have to “create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable” and then focus on those things that we hold in common.
This very column, even this very article, may be viewed with disagreement, which I would accept as readily as any approval or plaudits. My own academic background empowers me to take the criticism with the applause, without feeling slighted in the least. This column was borne in the midst of an environment perceived to be devoid of discourse and serious in-depth discussion on the finer points of ICT use and development for our society, with the intention of raising the level of analysis, discussion, and debate with respect to ICT matters.
Thankfully, there are signs that the intended impact is being felt and, at some point, the need for this column would have ended, with its objectives being met. Result!
Not only do I look forward to that day; I actively welcome it, since it would mean a more serious view being taken regarding ICT matters to uplift our society. Then my own voice, views and writing may take a step back to allow fresh ideas and perspectives to join and lead the debate, having set an example and placed on record for open scrutiny one point of view. Let there be many, since our development is in need of an infusion of more ideas, more analysis, and more serious introspection.
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About the Author
Dr.Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia, offering expertise in systems analysis, design, and development. He has lectured at Monroe College, and at the UWI Open Campus in Saint Lucia.