Duties and functions

Not Both Roles, Duke | Letters to the Editor


I have noted with concern the decision of Mr. Watson Solomon Duke to continue as President of his union, the PSA, while serving as the Deputy Chief Secretary of the THA.

This situation is absolutely untenable.

Nonetheless, in my speech, I will not address the legal ramifications of such a decision, but simply approach it from a practical point of view.

No matter how smart, resourceful, talented, creative or gifted he is, one person cannot effectively perform the duties / tasks of two full time jobs. In this case, this is compounded by the nature of these jobs.

In this regard, any practitioner in the field of industrial relations can attest to the very long hours and unforeseen demands of any work in this field, let alone the post of president of a large T&T union. The same is true for THA.

I dare say that the PDP would like to embark on the fight against the many challenges facing Tobagonians, especially health and economic challenges, in the midst of a Covid-19 pandemic.

It is also, in my opinion, totally unnecessary that Mr. Duke should be involved in these two activities at the same time.

The PSA has an executive, and there is an incumbent first vice president who should be competent enough to take control of the reins of power now that Mr Duke has been elevated to the post of deputy chief secretary at the THA.

Anyone who has worked in professional / technical fields of activity in supervisory or managerial positions in the public or private sector will know that after ceasing to be employed by the company / agency / company of State / ministry concerned, either retired or otherwise, after leaving amicably, they still occasionally provide informal mentoring to their successors.

The successor may seek the advice and recommendation of the mentor on a particular issue, or the mentor may have observed a media report and offer unsolicited advice to his or her successor (s).

But, this activity does not take much time because the legwork, the final decision making and the responsibility would rest with the current incumbent, and not with the mentor / predecessor.

Likewise, the Chief Secretary, indeed, would show a staggering lack of confidence in the rest of his team at the THA if he allowed Mr. Duke to serve full time at the PSA, while serving as the Deputy Chief Secretary of the THA.

Who is really responsible for the HAT: Mr. Duke or Mr. Farley Chavez Augustine ?!

Mr. Duke is not indispensable to the executive of the THA, as Mr. Augustine has other people to choose from, excluding himself.

This state of affairs tells us everything we need to know about the leadership of the PDP / THA and the PSA.

I don’t need to say more!

Louis W. Williams

St. Augustine