Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 10th 2017 Contents With recent revela-
tions involving the
Judicial and Legal
Services Commission and the
Auditor-General's Report, many
citizens are wondering how some
people get into positions where
you can foul up so regularly and
never be fired, while many more
are wondering if they can get a job
So, in today's column, I have
prepared a list of standard ques-
tions for key offices, so interested
applicants can prepare themselves
to ace the interviews.
High Court Judge
How are the children?
In a case involving mens rea,
would you habeas corpus?
Who does your hair?
Is the air-conditioning too cold
or are you amicus curiae?
Are you good at Scrabble?
Is cheesecake with fudge sauce
Have you now, or have you ever
Do you believe in a higher pow-
er, including the Chief Justice?
Boxers or briefs or in flagrante
Trade Union Officer
Do you agree that public pro-
tests in capitalist democracies
reflect dissatisfaction with a gov-
Do you agree that public pro-
tests in socialist dictatorships are
conspiracies by the CIA?
Do you agree that economic
statistics are a tool for preventing
workers from getting wage in-
Are you completely ignorant of
Do you think a loving parent
will name their child "Errol"
cel" or "Oswald"?
Do you tow the line or toe the
Can you write a whole news-
paper column about misplacing a
Do you wreck havoc or wreak
What verbs show that your
heart is in the right place?
Would you prefer to be a play-
writer or a playwright?
What gerunds are the most in-
When you argue, do you have a
rational or a rationale?
Are you au courant with buz-
Do you avoid phrases like "au
Do you hold the reigns of power
or the reins of power?
Do you believe in God, God,
God, or God?
Do you support the marriage
of 12-year-old and 14-year-old
Do you agree that, when chil-
dren die in fires, it is because of
Do you agree that homosexual-
ity is worse than murder, because
murder victims at least go to
Should atheists be fined, jailed,
or lectured by Brother Harryper-
Do you like to be ignored?
Are you comfortable with a ca-
reer in futility?
Who is better-paid, account-
ants who find accounting errors or
accountants who don't?
If you are obsessed with figures,
does this mean you are sexist?
Are you self-motivated, bear-
ing in mind that self is defined by
Do you bring unusual ideas
and angles to this job, such as not
Do you aim beyond the status
quo which decides which women
Can you can devise solutions
and strategies which are not based
on a patriarchal capitalist para-
Are you fearless enough to re-
ject empirical data or, if necessary,
make it up?
Are you ethical enough to make
arguments based on the principle
that women are always right?
Commissioner of Police
Who is the greater detective,
Sherlock Holmes or God?
Can you pronounce "homi-
What are the most effective
strategies to not sweat in uni-
If a police officer kills a young
black man, how long before he
Is rising crime caused by poor
parenting, lack of co-operation
from citizens, or Satan?
Do you have a clue?
Do you lack any knowledge or
experience in Political Science but
can use words like "Constitution-
Do you lack any knowledge or
experience in Social Psychology,
but can use words like "demo-
Are you a closet socialist?
Are you a closet fundamental-
Are you a closet closet?
Do you have all the answers to
all the problems facing the coun-
When making allegations
against the Government, should
you make wild statements or make
Is it easier to get votes from re-
ligious fundamentalists or racists
or Spoken Word poets?
Soda or ice cubes?
Do you have any answers to
any of the problems facing the
country? What's your golfing
When accusing the Opposition
of wrong-doing, should you wave
documents or not pass evidence
to the police?
Are email printouts just as good
as electronic emails?
Is a contracting economy
caused by what the Opposition
did while in government, Saudi
Arabia, or lazy citizens?
Jumbo shrimp or Beluga caviar?
President of the Republic
Do you like to travel?
Do you like to drink wine, wine,
or both? Do you agree that rent
money is a basic human right?
Do you believe that faith is bet-
ter than chemotherapy?
Do you consider nepotism
wrong, except when it involves
Powers, no powers, Austin
• Email: kevin.baldeosingh@zoho.
com. Kevin Baldeosingh is a profes-
sional writer, author of three novels,
and co-author of a Caribbean history
Looking at the country via
the news these last few
weeks, I've gotten the dis-
tinct impression of a preternatural
repetitiveness. There were an-
nouncements that public servants
couldn't get pay-slips because
there was no paper to print them,
no money to buy toilet paper, no
medicines in hospitals. These
aren't isolated instances---hos-
pitals, roads, and schools are in
It's like a multiple institution-
al organ failure--with a few new
and macabre spasms as the body
politic seizes up. Politically, the
nature of the legislative/executive
is revealed by Primus Inter Pares
leaving the golf course to make
statements contradicting his own
ministers' about the TSTT/Massy
transaction. The other part of
the legislative (the Opposition)
is, meanwhile, telling people to
disobey the government by not
filling out property tax forms. The
story of the judiciary was told on
the front pages of all newspapers
The specificity of the repeti-
tion is remarkable if you look at
1983 when we were in a similar
position. The Guardian's front
page on January 8, was head-
lined: "Thieves robbing corpses,
hospitals also losing drugs, toilet
paper." As the year went on, other
headlines from this newspaper
included: "Threat to Judiciary"
(June 5); "Sex and the Lawyers"
(October 7). The "threat" was
government interference in ju-
dicial functions, the other is
ripping off clients, and some were
reportedly extorting sex.
The economy was beginning a
tailspin: the currency was deval-
ued (from $2.40 to $3.60 $US1) to
service a growing budget deficit.
On the social front, then Minis-
ter of Education, Muriel Greene,
was reported as saying (June 26):
"There are reports of students'
lack of interest in schools; their
indiscipline and vandalism...stu-
dents who manifest hostility and
aggression to teachers and other
authority figures, and students
who are obsessed with sex and ex-
periment with drugs."
The similarity is in your face.
But that's not all. Similar, too, was
how the society was responding.
Prof Ramesh Deosaran, writing in
these pages on July 13, observed:
"Given the sociology and size of
the country, gossip and rumours
have taken quite a prominent
place. There are people who see a
little...and stretch it into a mile.
And by the end of the day, the
tiny shred of information, false
from the start, turns into a mighty
." Facebook behaviour be-
fore Facebook. And I think you get
the picture: déjà vu, all over again.
Apart from the curiosity of the
repetition, the point the think-
ing punter would arrive at is, If
certain behaviours repeat time
and again, the problem is not sin-
gular to the moment. Lloyd Best
was around in those days, and
provided (January 12) an incisive
prognosis. "Everybody cannot be
incompetent. If the telephones
are not working, electricity is not
working, the hospitals are not
working and the transport is not
working, the answer cannot be
incompetence... The problem lies
in the paradigm, the framework in
which all these activities are tak-
ing place, therefore we do have to
attack the underpinnings of civil
There's an incredible amount
of wisdom in those words. The
problem is: can anyone recognise
it, far less put it to use? Unlikely,
but looking back 34 years, a few
things seem to hold some hope.
Yes, the same cycle of ignorance,
incompetence and implosion is
repeating, the same institutions
are buckling, and the same citi-
zenry is running their mouths on
FB and creating socially toxic en-
vironments. But there are subtle
differences. I'd say the society is
better off now than it was then.
In 1983, the country was
a one-party state. Now it's a
two-party state. The public is
much more aware of, and im-
patient with, the incompetence
and shortcomings of politicians.
The issue with the JLSC is being
responded to with alacrity by the
law association and senior prac-
titioners. The hospitals, while
they're in disarray, are much more
accountable and functional. (The
school situation, however, seems
The actual results of the scru-
tiny and activism might be little,
but they're happening. They
weren't three decades ago. Hope-
fully they'll grow. The tantalising
question remains, though: what is
the systemic, or underlying cause?
Everyone can't be deliberately in-
competent to the point of cutting
their own throats, as Best said.
My guess is that what ails us
is what ails the metropolitan
countries. Looking at the US,
action is taking away health care
away from millions, rolling back
environmental protection, and
like homework help and Sesame
Street. The intelligentsia and
journalists are in accord: the
needs and desires of a small group
of extremely powerful people
(who embody the ideals of preda-
tor-capitalism) are being served.
Unemployment, crime and social
decay are by-products.
So it is, I believe, in Trinidad
and Tobago now. The incompe-
tence, back-pedaling, and illogic
which governs the management
of the country are merely the
by-products of larger, hidden po-
litical engines, which operate for
the benefit of a very few. This isn't
just about money or rich people.
It's about the desires and the
small group of minds which are
invisibly shaping the environment
in which we live.
I have no idea who they are and
won't speculate but they're the
ones who make things happen.
So what next? It's tempting to
resort to teleology (the belief that
we're slowly evolving into better
versions of ourselves). Put more
simply, in the Bill Murray movie,
Groundhog Day, the protagonist
was forced to relive a single day
until he got it right and trans-
formed his life. It's a seductive
myth. But more appropriate here
and now would be the myth of Si-
syphus. He rolled the stone up the
hill, it rolled back down. And he
rolled it up the hill again. Forever.
Trini reality might be somewhere
in between Sisyphus and Bill
Murray. Time will tell.
guardian.co.tt Wednesday, May 10, 2017
T&T INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
GROUNDHOG DAY, AGAIN
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