Published On: Sat, Dec 21st, 2019

The Human Factor in Government

Wycliffe Smith - SMCP

By Wycliffe Smith

The human factor is the most important element in maintaining or destabilizing government. The Informateurs’, Dr. Nilda Arduin and Mr. Jan Beaujon, in their Report of March 2018, entitled “More than the Numbers”, presented the formula for good governance and for stability of Government. Note that in this article the term “government” refers to Parliament and the Council of Ministers combined. The Informateurs, after discussions with the political parties and various stakeholders in the community, came to the conclusion that the two main requirements for good governance and stability of Government are: (1) a well-defined governing program and (2) the human factor. Equipped with this knowledge, the UD/SMCP Coalition in 2018 set out to ensure that in the process of forming a government these two points would be given serious attention.

To be able to develop a clear-cut governing program, the services of a consulting firm were acquired. Also much time and energy were put into discussing and drafting the governing program. Key persons from several ministries were consulted. The views of experts from various sectors in the community were taken into consideration. And to make the governing program more practical the sitting Ministers at that time were included in the discussions as well. Finally, five months after the 2018 elections the Governing Program was signed by the UD/SMCP Coalition. In my opinion, this program contained all the right elements of a good governing program.

The second requirement is the human factor which is key for good governance and stability of government. What is the Human or H-Factor? According to the Report the H-Factor includes “personalities, trust and animosity” amongst the persons forming the coalition. Actually, the report predicted that, no matter the combination of political parties in a coalition government, government would not last four years because of the personalities involved, the lack of trust and the abundance of animosity (hostility and bitterness) amongst the persons in particularly the two largest parties. Armed with this knowledge the UD/SMCP Coalition set out to mitigate the H-Factor by adopting a coalition management agreement in addition to signing the traditional coalition agreement. The coalition management agreement included aspects regarding the leadership structure, communication frequency, conflict resolution, etc. between the UD and the SMCP. Because of our guiding principles, SMCP has been the stable factor in the UD/SMCP Coalition. This has been confirmed many times within the UD faction and in public by MP Franklyn Meyers in particular.

Unfortunately, the H-Factor reared its ugly head in the midst of the Coalition. What the Informateurs predicted came through. Individual personalities began to prevail above party and people’s interests. This became more apparent when MP Heyliger was suspended and was no longer part of the day to day affairs of the Coalition in Parliament. The lack of trust and the prevalence of animosity within the coalition were undeniable and were played out especially between the UD Parliamentarians and their Ministers.

Not only did the H-Factor rear its ugly head within the governing Coalition but it was also prevalent within the opposition in Parliament who continuously influenced some of the UD Members of Parliament. Accusations allegations, blame and endless complaints were hurled at the Ministers and the Government. Unsubstantiated votes of no-confidence were presented. Unfortunately, the H-Factor also played out on the side of the Council of Ministers. Personality differences and trust issues were prevalent. Even though SMCP organized several team building events these did not make a major difference.

When the H-Factor within the UD Coalition reached unmanageable proportions MP Meyers withdrew his support from the Government and declared himself independent. This then precipitated the dissolution of Parliament and the no-confidence motion against Council of Ministers.

The Report “More than the Numbers” is very telling in that it says that even though the numbers are right and the main requirement of a clear cut governing program is in place, the H-Factor actually determines whether good governance takes place and whether a government is stable or not.

Why did SMCP sign on to the dissolution of Parliament?

So now the million-dollar question is why didn’t SMCP break away from the Coalition earlier? One must recall that SMCP campaigned on offering the people a stable government. Since SMCP’s foundational principle is stability then, as a party, one does not seek to break up and throw down government so easily, knowing the serious affect that it will have on the country. Of course the next question is, as a fervent advocate of stability why did SMCP sign on to the dissolution of Parliament? Undoubtedly there was interference, sabotaging and undermining of the coalition as well as the government taking place. In addition, the possibility of the influence by the so-called Cupecoy Government was also very real. When SMCP realized that the H-Factor had spread like a cancer among the parties in Parliament as well as among individual Members of Parliament, SMCP felt that it was time to go back to the people and let the people decide on the Government they would like to have, moving forward. Now, after the dissolution of Parliament we have even seen individual members of the UD/SMCP coalition declaring themselves independent while realigning allegiances with the opposition. We have also seen a shift from one party to the other party taking place within the very same coalition. These shifts have now caused the number of Factions in Parliament to be increased from four to eight.

The Informateurs are right! Realizing a stable government lies in the H-Factor where the “differences in personality, trust and animosity are the real stumbling-blocks in providing the country with a stable Government in the interest of the country and the people”. I pray that when the people go to the polls on January 9, 2020, they can elect 15 statesmen who can rise above the manipulation and put Country above self.

Wycliffe Smith
Leader of the SMCP

SMCP Candidates Group with Names

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Related articles:
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Editorial: “The H-Factor