“Canada’s Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan and T&Ts recently appointed Minister of National Security Stuart Young are both smooth talking politicians in and out of Parliament. However, there is a big difference between both gentlemen. Minister Sajjan has vast military, actual combat, managerial and more than a decade of active police experience. Young has absolutely none.
Canada’s Minister Sajjan has 11 years police experience in the Vancouver Police where he was a Detective-Constable with the Gang Crime Unit specializing in organized crime. He proudly tackled gang violence and drug crimes in Vancouver. Sajjan is also a human security specialist, and has lectured to wide audiences in both Canada and the United States.
He is a retired Lieutenant-Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces and a combat veteran. He was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina and served three separate deployments to Kandahar and Afghanistan. Sajjan has received numerous recognitions for his service, including the Meritorious Service Medal for reducing the Taliban’s influence in Kandahar Province where he showed strong managerial competencies. He is also a recipient of the Order of Military Merit, one of the military’s highest recognition.
By contrast T&T’s Stuart Young’s Curriculum Vitae is manifestly thin on both military and police experience and also in managing large bureaucracies. Young’s greatest accomplishment is his background in law and various junior ministerial appointments over the last three years.
Canada also has a Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, who is very experienced in governance being first elected as an MP in 1974; and also Bill Blair Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction. Mr Blair served 39 years with the Toronto Police Force, the last decade as its Chief of Police.
So to the nearly 100,000 Trinidadians who claim both Canadian and T&T citizenship, it is manifestly clear, based on qualifications, experience and performance, which jurisdiction serves their safety and security needs better.
Notwithstanding his limited managerial, military and police experience, newly appointed Minister Young’s attention will be divided in his four very demanding portfolios namely: Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Minister of Communications, MP for Port of Spain North/St Ann’s West and Minister of National Security.
Serious countries are increasingly recognising that a “level head and common sense” are not enough for today’s demanding roles of high profile executive appointments.
Singapore’s deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, TEO Chee Hean, served in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) where he held various command and staff appointments in the Republic of Singapore Navy and the Joint Staff. In 1991, he was appointed Chief of Navy, and was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral.
United States’ Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, served as the Chair of the Homeland Security Advisory Council for Strategic and Global Security Programs at Penn State, was a Senior Fellow at the George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, and a Safety and Security Advisory Board Member for the Center for Naval Analysis. She is a Member of the State Bar of Texas and holds a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
It is clear that PM Rowley must take a very close look at the various portfolios in his Government and assign persons to head them with the requisite qualifications and experience. If we wish to become a first world country and a leader in the region and reduce crime we must be led by those capable, qualified and competent to so do.
In the two years remaining PM Rowley may be well advised that his appointees must be in a position to hit the ground running, deliver consistently at high levels of performance and command the respect of their international colleagues.
The country has been severely underserved by his appointees to date.
MP for Naparima