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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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The death of objective analysis
We have been asked to announce the death of Objective Analysis. He was the son of Analytic Methods and Scientific Rigour and the brother of Calculus from Europe, Arithmetic from India and Algebra from Arabia: the father of Physics, Chemistry, Economics, Public Processes and Genetics: the grandfather of International Space-Station, Modern Medicine and Management Sciences.
Upon the termination of slavery and indentureship, the colonial masters, probably in a rare moment of conscience-distress, decided to embark upon another programme of immigration; this time with the assistance of the UN. In a move full of irony, they removed the old iron that constituted a sugar mill, approximately in the centre of the flat corridor of land at the foot of the Northern Range and between the two road ways that connected east to west and proceeded to build facilities to house the newest addition to the country.
In order to name the facility, they reasoned it was for you (the citizen students) and us.Naturally, the name You, We seemed apt and appropriate. The idea was, among other less noble ones, to introduce analytic methods upon which modern and developed societies are based since the future leaders of both government and industry would be attending. They terribly underestimated the difficulty in planting analytic ideas in a transplanted plantation society.
Today You We stands in the centre of the east-west corridor where reason, hard work, tolerance and productive values have died were cremated, the tenth day ritual (shaving ceremony or dasgata) and the water and food offerings (bhandara) completed. But not everything is forgotten. The bhandara ceremony has survived but morphed into a new form with an innovative name filled with the entrepreneurial ethos; Eat ah food.
This in no way forgets or belittles the tenth day ritual that, defying all logic, has come to represent sustainable employment and which still continues; the famous ‘ten-days wuk’. The patra reading for this, including the auspicious name and time to start, was done by a famous Oxford historian.
Of course further reading and name changes were subsequently done by both his disciples and his aunty disciples. He however failed miserably in reviving the bhandara ceremony or renaming it. This happened in one of his aunty disciple’s lavish party.
Though Objective Analysis arrived in robust health, he never was really exposed to the tropical virus called ‘By Us’, aka bias. This is a really virulent species made more dangerous by its bipolar and plural nature and origins. It originated from and is sustained by a blood-sucking multi-dimensioned insect which has been named ‘Poly Tics’. It operates as follows. If it is ‘For us, by us’ then there is no claim of bias by us.
It was hoped that Objective Analysis would flourish in both the public and private sector and would be used to analyse the problems and challenges facing the country and propose solutions for the betterment of the country. It is understood that even though all the necessary data might not necessarily be available and at times it would be expedient to have sub-optimal solutions, nevertheless, the tenor of analytic methods would predominate. Hah! If hope was dope then pipers won’t thief we soap.
The thing about analytic methods is that it is always transparent and open to scrutiny. Not everybody would agree but at least you can see the reasoning even if you do subscribe to the assumptions. Also the process is data-driven, not vaps-driven. But more importantly, the adoption of a culture of analytic methodology forms the foundation for putting proper governance and systemic decision making processes, the foundation upon which sustained development is built; the platform for developed society status.
In a country as polarised and divisive as ours, transparency and openness are essential for progress. We should not have to wait for international agencies to tell us that. We need to let it be driven by our own desire to build a strong, vibrant and economically stable society. Rationale decision making is essential to that process. We should therefore view the present demise of Objective Analysis as but a transition and put the required measures in place for its reincarnation, sustenance sustained growth.
• Prakash Persad,
Director, Swaha Inc