The Daryl Vaz pick: Better a performer than an articulate policy elaborator

Letters to the Editor

The Daryl Vaz pick: Better a performer than an articulate policy elaborator

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Your front page article in the Sunday Observer was of course about more than just Daryl Vaz's selection. My views on the size of the Cabinet were the subject of an opinion piece you previously published so I will refrain from repetition.

As a point of order I declare my personal relationship with Daryl Vaz.

The prime minister would have foreseen the stir that his selection of Vaz would have generated. He is not a careless person by a long shot and he would have weighed the issues and made his decision after some consideration. He is well aware of what a safe choice would look like; therefore, I am so glad he brushed that aside and went with performance.

Give Daryl Vaz his due, he performs. It's unfortunate that that was not also in your article — it would have been better journalism, in my opinion.

Jamaica needs performance and performers now more than the prime minister needs a peaceful life, and that's why, in my opinion, Vaz was selected.

We need some bold, brash, out-of-the-box thinking to build back stronger. We can't await reform of the public sector — that has been coming since P J wore short pants. We are going to have to succeed with what we have now; with who we have now.

However, regarding those who can't deliver anything more than eloquent excuses; replace them as soon as possible with people who can transform agencies and departments.

Vaz is the most impatient minister of Government I have ever worked with — silver ticks that never stop; and, as I reflect, he puts all his friends to work on all his tasks and you would think it was your job when the cussing starts.

I understand the criticism however, and some of it is well-earned and comes with the territory. I wish to say this, though, I rather a performer than an articulate policy elaborator who is apt at describing the issues and the pros and cons but is never able to chart a way forward. We seem to have them in abundance; necessary, but better suited for universities than business or leadership of the public sector.

The ministry Daryl Vaz has been appointed to lead is one that, if successful, will drive development and growth that will allow us to punch above our weight as a small island. He is an inspired choice and I am glad we have a prime minister astute enough to see it and who has the testicles to make the decision.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness recognises that we can't have our best soldiers in the kitchen peeling potatoes, we need them on the front lines facing the enemy of bureaucracy, red tape, and obsolete thinking.

Good luck and God speed to Vaz and all our ministers.

Danville Walker

Former director of elections and commissioner of customs

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