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Lowering Benchmarks Is Not The Answer

by Dickson Igwe
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Dickson Igwe, socio-political columnist

Entitlement drives mediocrity and poor outcomes

Listening to specific politicians and commentators reveals this country still has a steep hill to climb to develop socially and technologically.

One of the key drivers of underdevelopment is the failure to invest in the type of social and economic infrastructure that empowers a country’s population.

Countries that fail- and Nigeria is a great example- possess a low expectation of the abilities of their own people to meet the mark of high quality in all spheres.

And hence the norm of sending citizens abroad to gain an expensive education, the damaging belief that imports are better than products produced at home, and a toxic low self- esteem that tells people deep within their minds that alien cultures are better than the national type.

However, how can a country develop when it fails to invest in its own educational, social and economic infrastructure? That dilemma faces most underdeveloped countries.

On top of the preceding, is the crippling fact of entitlement!

Nepotism, cronyism, and racism, are a fact. The world is tribal. Societies will invest first in people that belong. However, entitlement becomes a problem when it goes overboard.

Offering a person a job owing to his family background, race or ethnicity, and social links, can backfire on a society. In a highly competitive world that is becoming technologically borderless, the fittest and best prevail.

A local company- notwithstanding what it sells – must meet not just local standards, but increasingly, global standards to survive.

The effort and ethics that drives excellence is the same everywhere. To meet the highest standards of quality in services and products demands a culture that produces excellent outcomes.

A yacht charter company on Tortola must be equal or better than a similar business in Dubai or Sydney. A supermarket on Virgin Gorda must meet the same quality standards as one in New York. A medical clinic or dentist in the Virgin Islands must offer the same service as one in Washington DC, and vice versa.

The term global village is not misnomer.

Today, what happens in London is soon in the British Virgin Islands. A recession in the USA means US travelers may decide to stay at home and visit Martha’s Vineyard, instead of spending a week on Peter Island.

Poor customer service is not a good reputation for a country’s tourism, in whatever area. Consumers today have many options. Most products are available online at the click of a mouse.

Consequently, using the best and brightest is the only way to drive excellence.

The pool of talent is far wider than the select few from specific families or geographies.

In the USA, fortune 500 companies will hire the best from anywhere on earth to ensure cutting- edge products that drive competitiveness.

Entitlement fosters mediocrity. A mediocre country is at a disadvantage in many ways, in today’s world. A mediocre workforce and economy will keep a country in the social and economic doldrums. 

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Dickson Igwe

Dickson Igwe

Dickson Igwe is an education official in the Virgin Islands. He is also a national sea safety instructor. He writes a national column across media and has authored a story book on the Caribbean: ‘The Adventures of a West Indian Villager’. Dickson is focused on economics articles, and he believes economics holds the answer to the full economic and social development of the Caribbean. He is of both West African and Caribbean heritage. Dickson is married with one son.


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