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Ear nose and throat specialist Dr Irving Pascal
Ear nose and throat specialist Dr Irving Pascal

The recent "I Run Tings" (IRT) statement by Prime Minister Skerrit has set social media platforms and talk shows buzzing with stinging critiques, serious accusations and hilarious comments. The comment that amused me the most was the one that stated "Skerrit suffering from "IRTitis", no cause of the "IRTitis" was given neither was any treatment recommended. I imagined the writer must have been thinking that Mr. Skerrit's mind was inflamed at the time of the utterance and made their diagnosis in the same way doctors call an inflamed appendix appendicitis. Though I am not a psychiatrist nor Mr. Skerrit's physician I can relate to the diagnosis, however the closet medical term to "IRTitis" I know is Hubris Syndrome.

In medicine a syndrome is a combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process. Hubris Syndrome, a termed coined by former UK politician and physician Dr David Owen is not a formal personality disorder but an illness of position as much as of person. He came to his conclusions after studying heads of various governments over 100 years. Interestingly he singled out Margaret Thatcher, George W Bush and Tony Blair as having developed Hubris Syndrome while in office. The syndrome was also assigned to President Trump in the May 5th2017 edition of the New Yorker Magazine.

According to Owen, Hubris syndrome is inextricably linked with power. Indeed power is a prerequisite for the condition. He notes that the severity of the condition bears some relationship to the time the individual has been in high office. Owen further states that the behavioral symptoms in a head of government which might trigger the diagnosis of hubris syndrome typically grow in strength with time and at least three or four symptoms on a recommended list of fourteen should be present before the diagnosis is made. I will quote nine from Owen's list that support a diagnosis of Hubris Syndrome in Prime Minister Skerrit.

1) A narcissistic propensity to see the world primarily as an arena in which they can exercise power and seek glory rather than as a place with problems that need approaching in a pragmatic and self-referential manner.

2) A predisposition to take actions which seem likely to cast them in a good light, taken in part in order to enhance their image.

3) A disproportionate concern with image and presentation.

4) A messianic manner of talking about what they are doing and a tendency to exalt in speech and manner.

5) Excessive confidence in their own judgement and contempt for the advice or criticism of others.

6) Recklessness, restlessness and impulsiveness.

7) Loss of contact with reality, often associated with progressive isolation.

8) A consequent type of incompetence in carrying out a policy, which could be called hubristic incompetence. This is where things go wrong precisely because too much self-confidence has led the leader not to worry about the nuts and bolts of policy. (It is to be distinguished from ordinary incompetence).

9) A belief that rather than being accountable to the mundane court of colleagues or public opinion, the real court to which they answer is much greater i.e. History or God. This is often accompanied by an unshakeable belief that in that court they will be vindicated.

Remember you only need three or four to make the diagnosis yet it will be no surprise that the inherent bias of those who blindly support Mr. Skerrit will not allow themselves to acknowledge the signs of irrational behavior in their dear leader. Why? Simply because that acknowledgement will reflect poorly on their decision to put him there in the first place and to keep him there for three consecutive terms to the detriment of the country. That notwithstanding I think it is of extreme importance to those concerned by this hubristic "I Run Tings" outburst and faux pas to be aware that the syndrome only gets worst with time and the only known cure is for the individual to demit office or lose power. Furthermore if the diagnosis of Hubris Syndrome in Skerrit has saddened or worse angered you, cheer up, let not your hearts be troubled, in Dominica Nature Isle of the World "Everything Bless and Jah, only Jah Run Things".

May the spirits of the ancestors be pleased.

Dr Irving "Eipigh" Pascal.


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