Say what you like about the newly installed United States president Donald John Trump, but he is one man who has truly earned his productivity stripes.
And should anyone even think about challenging this, the evidence is there for all to see, not only in terms of his US$4 billion-plus in Real Net Worth, but the numerous office towers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses that the 70-year-old real estate mogul has built, renovated, and managed over the past three to four decades.
From Florida to Hawaii, Mr Trump has amassed an impressive portfolio of properties that speak to his homegrown success, not to forget his international holdings in Canada, Turkey, Panama, South Korea, the Philippines, India, and Uruguay.
However, his record of personal and professional achievement certainly did not stop there.
On his way to taking the White House, Mr Trump positioned himself to become the real man behind the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants from 1996 to 2015, and lent his name to the branding of various products which helped to assure him a place on Forbes’ list as the 324th wealthiest person in the world (113th in the United States).
Mr Trump even hosted his own reality TV show, making it difficult for anyone to disagree with his declaration this week, on the eve of his presidential inauguration, that: “I think I outworked anybody who ever ran for office.”
Certainly, no one can criticize Donald Trump on the basis of hard work!
This does not mean that the outgoing president Barack Obama was any political snooze either.
From his entry into the White House exactly eight years ago, up until his final departure today, Obama has been constantly on the move.
And as if his own presidential tenure was not bruising enough, we would have seen Mr Obama and his First Lady Michelle go all out to assist Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in her very contentious run last year for the White House, albeit an unsuccessful bid for the Oval Office.
Still it was easy to surmise without having intimate knowledge of all of his day-to-day happenings, that his has been a most productive and very inspiring presidency.
Which brings us to our very own domestic political situation, and the bold move this week by the National Productivity Council in announcing Prime Minister Freundel Stuart as the National Productivity Champion.
To tell the truth it was one accolade that certainly took us completely by surprise. Indeed, we were tempted to say it was laughable, except that the problem of productivity is far too serious a challenge for us nationally.
In accepting the title, Mr Stuart warned in a release issued by the Barbados Government Information Service that “people must be committed to the pursuit of excellence and they will not be if they are not productive”.
“It is not simply a goal, but it has to become a way of life,” he said.
Stuart also expressed the view that people in general should exceed themselves, and that wanting the best should be their very nature.
“Instead of setting standards and encouraging persons to rise to them, we in the Caribbean have been meeting people at their level, and so the desire to rise is being killed very softly,” he contended.
We cannot fault the Prime Minister on account of his advice.
However, we would wish that the same be applied to his leadership of our country, for fear of anyone being left with the impression that he certainly does not practice what he preaches.
This is not to suggest that our Prime Minister does not show up for work. Indeed there has been no evidence of which we are aware of him playing truant, being seriously ill or having to be away from the job for any extended time over the past six years.
What we had though are very pronounced periods of vacuum, which, when coupled with his Government’s seeming inability to settle even the very mundane while bungling its response to critical matters such as our water supply, garbage disposal, road, housing, sewage and the like, put paid to any suggestion of our leader championing anything, much less productivity in this country.
And we are very surprised that the Akhentoolove Corbin–led Productivity Council would have sought to put him in this position of public ridicule given the need for others to draw inspiration from the champion’s example.
Perhaps if this was the Society For a Quieter Barbados that was asking our Prime Minister to be its champion, given his obvious ability to maintain lengthy periods of silence, then we would be very supportive; or if he were to take on the role of Literary Champion, given his undeniable expertise in terms of the use of prose.
But our Prime Minister – the National Productivity Champion?