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PNM already in election mode
While a date is still to be set for general elections scheduled within the next eight months, interested contenders from all sides of the political divide in Tobago are strategically positioning themselves as potential candidates for the two constituencies on the island.
Walk 4 Life
Republic Bank Limited in collaboration with the Cancer Society of Trinidad and Tobago held its 7th annual Walk4Life event last Sunday.
TTUTA hosts District Teacher’s Convention 2014
Tobago’s teachers took a break from the task of moulding young minds to come together for the Tobago Unified Teacher’s Association District Convention 2014 on Friday at the Signal Hill Secondary School.
Tobago’s ‘Native Abode’ lands on USA Today list
LOCAL bed and breakfast, Native Abode has been named as one of the “Top 10 romantic Bed and Breakfasts in the Caribbean” by USA Today.
Glowing tribute for Claudette Allard
Former Acting Administrator and Executive Adviser in the Division of Education Youth Affairs and Sport Claudette Allard was spoken of in glowing terms by her colleagues at the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association District Convention 2014.
Children’s Fund to distribute over $50,000 in bursaries
Needy students in Tobago are set to benefit from over $50,000 in bursaries which will be distributed by the Tobago Newspapers Limited as part of the company’s Children’s Fund.
Tobago NCBA to open new office
While concerns are being expressed about the staging of carnival 2015 because of the outbreak of the dreaded Ebola disease, the Tobago Region of the National Carnival Bandleaders Association (Tobago NCBA) will be opening its spanking new office on Friday.
Crown Point, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO Weather :: 28C Mostly clear

mostly clearMostly clear 28°C

Wind Speed:
1011 mb
Heat Index:
Wind Chill:
11 km
Find better way to resolve conflicts
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

There was once a lonely old man who lived in a very poor section of town. Every afternoon a group of youngsters went to that section to play, beat cans and drums and made a lot of noise. The old man hated the noise and soon came up with a plan to deal with the young men. 

One afternoon he went to meet them and told them how much he enjoyed the racket and looked forward to their visits. He then said, “Each time you come here to entertain me I will give you $20. Here is today’s payment.” 

The young men took the money and thought it was a good deal. The next day they returned and played with great gusto. The old man then went to them and said, “I only have $15 today but I will give you $25 tomorrow.” Next day he told them that he didn’t have time to go to the bank and could only give them $5 but promised to make up the deficit on the following day. 

Angered by what they suspected to be a broken promise, the players refused the money and told him they would not entertain him anymore for just $5. They left immediately and never went back, not realising that the old man had outsmarted them.

Does this story have any relevance to the current conflict in West Indies cricket?

Dr Edward deBono, a world authority on lateral thinking, stresses that a better way to resolve conflicts must be found. He feels that there is no more important matter for the future of the world than conflict resolution.

In the last three weeks, opposing sides have been involved in bitter arguments about who is right and who is wrong, not realising that adversarial thinking intensifies conflict. It does not defuse it. As one side attacks the other side defends or counterattacks and tempers rise. Positions then become more rigid and the parties stop listening to each other. 

The drive to attack and defend precludes any creative or constructive thinking. Each side spends so much time attacking the other side that the credibility of both sides is damaged. To use this method of thinking as the first and only method for conflict resolution is a prescription for disaster. It is very difficult to solve a conflict with conflict thinking.

Negotiating or bargaining is preferable to adversarial thinking but it too has weaknesses. Negotiation is about compromise in which each side gives up something and finishes up somewhere between two existing positions. In this type of thinking we restrict ourselves to what already exists; we work within boundaries that exist rather than designing new ones.

Problem-solving is better than adversarial thinking and compromise but it also has its limitations. In problem-solving we analyse the problem, find the cause and put it right. But in complex human interactions there might be more than one cause. 

Identifying Wavell Hinds or Darren Bravo as the cause of the problem and removing him from his position might not solve the problem because there may be multiple causes, not just one. What happens if we can’t find a cause or if we find the cause but can’t remove it? What do we do then?

According to Dr deBono, design thinking is the preferred method in conflict resolution. Design thinking is not about compromise or removing a problem. Argument, compromise and analysis are about the past, what is already there, while design thinking is about the future, what is to be created.

In design thinking, opposing parties articulate a clear purpose, goal or outcome and then tailor their skills and resources to fit that purpose. The exercise is all about purpose and fit and usually results in win/win outcomes.

In resolving conflict we should start with the best—design thinking, because it is more productive. Problem solving should be next followed by negotiation which usually results in a fallback position. If these three approaches fail we might then have to go back to the fight method as a last resort. This is very different from starting the process in the fight mode.

I wonder what course this conflict will now take and what impact WICB’s decision to cancel the remainder of the tour of India will have on West Indies cricket, the relationship between the cricket boards of India and West Indies, the relationship between the IPL and its West Indies players, the relationship with sponsors, and the relationship with TV broadcasters who stand to lose at least 15 days of Test match cricket. 

It will also be interesting to find out if the Board’s decision was in fact unanimous and how much money will be lost as a result of that decision. 

Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that sanity and commonsense somehow find their way into the resolution of this conflict.

Dr Rudi V Webster,
former WI mental coach​


Why should Govt mediate now?
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The HRM has been knocked down not once, not twice, but three times by the courts of our land! Their legal position is now confusing. They are taking their case to the Privy Council, clamouring for mediation and striking by not consuming water and food. 

Why didn’t the HRM first propose mediation with the Government? It is important to note that mediation and dialogue are two different things and the call for mediation came after losing in all the courts. 

The HRM jumped the gun and rushed to the courts certain of a victory. In doing so they lost a great opportunity to call for mediation. 

Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution used before parties go to court. They go to court if mediation does not arrive at an amicable solution. Dr Kublalsingh in his great wisdom or Senior Counsel Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj in his great wisdom thought the court was the way to end it all and it has so ended.

It is foolhardy and naïve to think that the Government, after securing three victories in this matter, would agree to mediation. What incentive is there for the winner to mediate? Would the HRM have agreed to mediation had they won?

I don’t know who is advising Dr Kublalsingh and the HRM. I sure hope it’s not the person who advised the ILP to take a Bill that is before the Parliament to the courts!

Allan Hewitt,

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