Tearing Down Our Own

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About two weeks ago, while reading the Trinidad Guardian online, I saw that well-known news anchor Shelly Dass-Clarke was leaving CNC3 to migrate and work with the Organisation of American States (OAS) as a Special Advisor in Washington DC (USA). At age 32, that’s definitely an accomplishment.

Wow, I thought to myself. Great for her! I wondered how she got through with the opportunity.

What were the steps she took not just to look for the job, but to also ensure she became a preferred candidate? Or, if she was headhunted, what was it that made her so attractive (career wise) to her new employer? Not once did I think to myself she didn’t deserve it.


“Not everyone can see other people prosper, and simply be happy for them”


However, when I jumped to the comments section, I realised that not everyone can see other people prosper, and simply be happy for them. Nasty comments were made. Some disputed how she could have two Masters degrees (one in business administration, the other in international relations) at this age (I got mine at 26; it’s quite possible). Others described her as simply a pretty face with nothing much else to offer.

One commenter said, “She is mediocre just like most people in Trinidad and she was fully exposed in her interview with Kamla where she looked like a total novice and was void of all professionalism.” Another went into a rant about how poorly he thought of Oral Roberts University, which she attended. “Just another rich, little girl with the right connections” was another phrase used to describe her, as some commenters took the opportunity to criticize her skills, and reduce her to just a pretty face.

It was refreshing to see some of the commenters ‘pick up’ for her, reminding people that she didn’t need their approval to secure the job at the OAS. Regardless of what people may think of Dass-Clarke, fact is, she’s obtained a high-profile position. That’s not easy. It also isn’t easy when trying to secure a job across borders. The OAS certainly wouldn’t have hired her for her pretty face only. She would have had to prove her mettle absolutely. You don’t get to be appointed as a Special Advisor, if you’re not competent, knowledgeable, analytical or strategic. As someone who hardly watches television newscasts, I’m not all that familiar with her style. I’m also not in a position to defend or attack her. However, what gets me is this need people have to tear down folk they don’t know. Tear down someone because you don’t think they deserve what they’ve gotten. To all her detractors, she’s heading to Washington. What are you doing?

Some people just like to look at other people and make assumptions. Some people just like to behave like crabs in a barrel. But guess what, check your position in the barrel or bucket – depending on how big your network is. Maybe you’re just trying to pull down another person because you just can’t see the brim. I don’t know why people can’t realise that accomplishments such as these have positive implications for others. When Trinbagonians go ‘out there’, in positions with serious ‘pull’ no less, and do well, it makes it easier for the next person coming through because there’s a positive trail before them. Obviously, each individual needs to prove him or herself based on his or her own merit, but seriously, why can’t we just be happy for people? And when will people realise that discrediting someone else (whether or not you truly believe they’re not much to shout about) only makes you look like a crab in a dirty, little bucket?


Karel Mc Intosh is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Outlish Magazine. She’s also a seasoned Marketing Communications and Training Consultant. A real online junkie, when she isn’t surfing the Internet, she’s thinking about surfing the Internet. Follow her at twitter.com/outlishmagazine.


Karel Mc Intosh

Karel Mc Intosh is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Outlish Magazine. She's also the Lead Communications Trainer at Livewired Group, where she conducts workshops in business writing, social media, and other communications areas. A real online junkie, when she isn't surfing the Internet, she's thinking about surfing the Internet. Find out more about her here or tweet her @outlishmagazine.


  1. Untitled

    June 14, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Regrettably, this may just be part of Trini’s “culture”.

    I’ve observed that this type of behaviour is quite evident, specifically among those that hold job positions in the media – no matter how big or small one’s niche in the area may be.

    Poor response to competition maybe?

    The attitude is sloppy, quite distasteful if you ask me.

  2. Kathryn Anne

    June 16, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Yes yes my dear it’s a sad reality that it is bred in some ppl to tear down others. Wether it be because they are pretty, rich, poor, of another race. However i don’t think this is just another ‘Trini’ trait like a steups it’s the action of small minded ppl everywhere. Until ppl can be happy with themselves and content with their own success they will never be able to truly congratulate another person. LOL at the “She’s heading to Washington. What are you doing?!!!

  3. Karen Francisco


    June 18, 2010 at 6:52 am

    I agree totally with Kathryn Anne. It is not a Trini trait, but a trait of small minded people. I do feel that a lot of persons in the media industry here in Trinidad seem to have this reputation of ‘Crabs in the barrel syndrome” but hopefully it is not all persons, hopefully of those few, they are in senior positions in order to break the cycle.

    I don’t know the woman, and I REAL happy for her!

    It inspires me that a woman my age is getting chances like that!

    To me, it means that I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to as well– regardless of age, gender or colour.
    Now I am going to look her up and see if I can follow her career and give whatever honest feedback or critique I can to help her continue her success.

    Great article!

  4. Ms hernandez

    July 31, 2010 at 7:55 am

    There is always some truth in everything. What about freedom of speech? It is true what most people are saying. Special Advisor? isn’t this a political organization? Who made her the queen of politics? One amateur interview with Lady K..amla now our PM of Trinidad and Tobago. She had to flee. She was promised a job with PNM if they had won. Sorry KH no more bluffing your way through. You are inexperienced and dishonest as to know you got that job and you know it

  5. Ms hernandez

    July 31, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Judging from all comments especially lady k’s. Transparent like yesterday. The ANYTHING part I strongly disagree with. If people are willing to break up marriages, hurt teenagers to the point of them attempting suicide to have their family stay together, and flirt with men and fool their husbands just to make a way for themselves, that is totally insane and heartless. I would never do ANYTHING to achieve ANYTHING. That is not success.

    I do not see that as being successful at all but rather manipulative and dishonest at the expense of abusing and hurting innocent people.

    It is all about Power and Money for some. Not I

  6. HeartLess

    August 31, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Okay It is not about tearing down people but merely stating facts. Shelly Dass got that job on false pretenses. People are not so naive. She has no experience to advise anyone there. Sources revealed that she ‘lied’ her way in oops no pun intended, and wormed her way in with major help. So it is not ‘tearing down’ our own. She has torn apart a family and continues to do so. The married man as well is also so guilty of what he has done . So the truth shall be known soon. Stay tuned.

  7. John Ramsumair

    January 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    My employer filed for a divorce as soon as I “came”. Nice. eh?

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