Shuffling and re-shuffling
Posted on August 21st, 2021

Laksiri Warnakula 

The Island editorial on 17/08/21 titled ‘Puzzling reshuffle’ amused me no ends as I was going through it. I somehow managed to look at it from another perspective, even with the gloom that is brought on by a ‘Viral cloud’ hanging above us the governed, and perhaps not the governors to the same extent.   

A refreshing change at least for me, away from what you see, hear and read these days: wailing of the poor, many families suddenly finding themselves in the middle of never-before-experienced economic hardships, the mass gatherings to get the vaccine standing in packed queues stretching for how long (only god will know), at many a location, and the health professionals asking for island-wide lockdowns, increased testing and patient isolation, to mention a few, to avert a disaster, of such ferocity and intensity never before seen. However, can the governments’ shuffling strategy of several ministerial portfolios in the Cabinet be considered even a reasonable attempt to support the fight against the epidemic? And the editorial mentioned above raises a few points that are quite thought-provoking too in addition to being as puzzling as the ‘Puzzling reshuffle’, itself.  

Now, about the shuffle written by the editor: It brought to my mind some images of a kind: ‘square holes/round pegs and post-turtles/fences’ (As for the latter, two of my letters were published in the ‘Opinion column’ of the Island dated and titled, ‘The post turtle era’, 19/06/18 and ‘Post turtle revisited’ 22/04/21, respectively).  

The unfitting round pegs uncomfortably (?) sitting in those holes often come out with sheer balderdash and the half-sleepy post-turtles suddenly awakened by the deafening silence around them and not-to-be-outdone come out with their own versions of balderdash, all of them thinking that their proposals and suggestions are innovative and ground-breaking (literally) ideas. However, in the end, a vast majority of them turn out to be, but miserable failures, a fitting analogy to a blind fellow missing the target lock, stock and barrel (how much they get paid by the public for this drama and the trauma caused by them to the country?). 

Eventually, it will be back to square one, won’t it? New pegs and new turtles, going into the shuffle-cycle, and the and governments’ policy of picking, plucking and planting whomever it likes and wherever it likes them to be  preferring ‘yes men/women and not the no-nonsense and the competent personnel’ (6P’s of selection), resulting in massive losses in both money and material, more harm done than any good, their indiscipline, disgusting work ethics coupled with their attitudes (not giving a ‘tinkers cuss’), interfering with matters that are beyond their ministerial responsibilities and duties, and who also can say ‘yes’ to any bigwig that asks them to do something even when it sounds not right, are able to bend down from their waists and ever-ready to raise their hands giving approval, whenever they are asked to, their mission of nation-building thus becoming more of a slavish submission to higher authority and nothing else.   

And some highly capable and educated people with proven track records in their fields of expertise, who continue to keep their dignity, honesty and integrity intact may stand a good chance of getting told ‘take it or leave it’ and few go for the latter, with their heads holding high with pride.   

So many a government portfolio gets filled with such ‘professionals of such calibre’, and the rest, needless to say its family members, and then their family members, on and on.   

Lastly, the problem of ‘having to shuffle and reshuffle’ is one of their own making.  

If the government is genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of the country, its people and preserving its environment and natural resources, it should employ only the capable regardless of their political affiliation They must be made to understand in no uncertain terms that they have been picked up based on pure merit only and to leave their non-work-related loyalties at home. Unless the government (and even the future ones too) follows this recruitment strategy, these shuffles will continue to appear from time to time and they in the end will again achieve next to nothing. 

Laksiri Warnakula  

One Response to “Shuffling and re-shuffling”

  1. Sarath W Says:

    What is the point in shuffling a pack containing a bunch of jokers, uneducated, corrupt and some out of date dead minded bunch? If one is not good enough for the job, just get rid of him/her from the cabinet. It seems Namal baby is the best minister as gets more and more responsibilities. What a joke. It looks like this is the beginning of the end for the president if he does not get his act together and stamp his authority.

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