Strauss-Kahn: Let there be no trial by the press!
By TP Saran
All the ideological elements are there: white versus black, powerful man versus woman in lowly job, ultra-rich boss versus poor worker… and the rest does not even have to be left to the imagination.
For the simple reason that that incident has so extensively and graphically been and continues to be portrayed in the media that one is hard put to think of another aspect of the unfolding drama that could possibly need to be investigated.
It goes without saying that the French would take umbrage at the way that DSK was treated as a commoner immediately as the suspicion was deemed strong enough for the police authorities to get him out of a plane ten minutes before departure. In Mauritius, someone who had trafficked in Subutex had all the leisure to whisk himself back to France, undoubtedly with occult assistance: it is difficult to imagine how else he could have left the country with such ease. There are some equally notorious local cases where double standards prevail, and nobody seems to see anything abnormal in that.
Give it to the Americans that nobody in their country is above the law. No less than an American President had to appear before an investigating committee even while he was in office in the Monica Lewinsky affair, and afterwards he was debarred from practising as a lawyer. And so, when an equally powerful man – as the director of the International Monetary Fund indeed is – is concerned, one should see this as something quite in line with the American way of the practice of justice.
And this said, DSK with his powerful posse of lawyers and the expensive private detective he has hired — and who has already flown to Guinea to seek out dirty bits about the maid that may be hauled up as evidence to weaken her case – will have ample opportunity to defend himself in the courts.
Naturally there would also be expected to be theories of political conspiracy, given that DSK was a potential candidate for the forthcoming Presidential elections in France. Either way, whether it is at the IMF or in the usual political sphere, things are consistently devious and dirty. Best is to follow that soap opera from a safe distance. What a messy world we live in!
* * *
Promotion in the Police Force: A step in the right direction
It was high time indeed for the policemen who had appeared in tests to see the results declared and the deserving ones obtain their promotion – after nearly three years of waiting, which is very unfair to say the least. In contrast, ministers did not have to wait for their cars to be changed, even though there was no need to because the cars they were using were in very good condition. The money thus squandered could have allowed the intake of more, badly needed human resource.
But the government has at last made a long-awaited step in the right direction, which was pending from its first mandate in 2005. And now that there has been a beginning, it must look at the rest of the Civil Service because there are legitimate expectations of career advancements, and there are meritorious officers too. Not only is it a punishment to make them wait impatiently, it is also a profound cause of demotivation.
The ongoing Medpoint saga shows how high is the level of responsibility that officers in lower and intermediate grades too have to assume, and it is in government’s own interest to keep them motivated and incentivized. Failure to do this exposes the country to the risk of officers taking the path of least resistance in handling important files, with the consequential negative impacts that sooner or later surface, and this blows up in the face of government, tarnishing its image and relegating to the backyard all the good work that it otherwise accomplishes.
We have said it before but it is worth repeating that all substantive posts currently being filled unjustly by acting officers should be forthwith advertised, and if there are issues – as has been advanced – with the famous schemes of service, it behoves the head of government to give instructions for matters to be speeded up. It is already one year over of the current mandate: surely the civil service and civil servants do not deserve a repeat?
There can be no pretext of money or austerity: these are posts that figure in the budget, and for which money is voted. There must be no hiding behind the PBB either: ever since its introduction, there have been toxic measures that have poisoned the whole system. True, reform was needed – but not of the toxic kind. This is what has happened, leading to frustration among hundreds of hardworking officers, while some useless advisers are twiddling their fingers – literal ‘assise beze casse’ type – and wasting hard-earned taxpayers’ money.
The meeting held by Minister Asit Gungah with high officials sometime ago brimmed over with good intentions – and must be put into practice now. But unless he gets support at the apex level, nothing much may happen. He needs to chase and track ongoing exercises and the reform personally, so that officers get their due and the heavyweights – advisers and sundry acting-officers – are weeded out. The country cannot afford to wait until 2015 for things to happen in the civil service.
“Give it to the Americans that nobody in their country is above the law. No less than an American President had to appear before an investigating committee even while he was in office in the Monica Lewinsky affair, and afterwards he was debarred from practising as a lawyer. And so, when an equally powerful man – as the director of the International Monetary Fund indeed is – is concerned, one should see this as something quite in line with the American way of the practice of justice…”
“It was high time indeed for the policemen who had appeared in tests to see the results declared and the deserving ones obtain their promotion – after nearly three years of waiting, which is very unfair to say the least…”
* Published in print edition on 27 May 2011
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