LETTER: There is a difference between being ‘brilliant’ and being ‘qualified’


Dear Editor,

In recent reports in the local media regarding workers of the Georgetown Municipality again not receiving their salaries on time and not yet receiving their retroactive payouts, Guyana Labour Union’s General Secretary, Mr Carvil Duncan, was quoted as saying:  “Even when the past Town Clerk, Carol Sooba, was here, we were getting paid. Though she wasn’t as brilliant as the present Town Clerk, she understood that workers have to get paid.”

I wish to correct Mr Duncan’s understanding and use of the word ‘brilliant’ in the context in which he used it.

Clearly, Mr Duncan does not see the difference between “brilliant” and “qualified”. There is a significant difference between the meanings and uses of these words.
Academic qualifications are earned certification. When we study and become certified, we become learned in the particular subject matter. We have to put effort into becoming educated.

Brilliance, on the other hand, is something with which you are born. Your IQ is a measurement of your intelligence, and doesn’t change, because it is a measure of your ability to learn. This can apply to terms we chronically associate with intelligence, like math, or it can apply to your ability to learn negotiation of emotional issues. In either case, it is inherent, and it simply stems from your genetic makeup.

“Brilliant” is used as a higher level of measured intellect. We give a higher compliment when we tell someone they are brilliant, versus when we tell them that they are educated.

It should be noted, however, that neither of the two persons to whom Mr Duncan made reference is qualified for the position of Town Clerk, as neither possesses the legal certification required for the job, and certainly none of the recent holders of that position could be described as brilliant, as Georgetown would not have been the failed city that it is.


Modi Sankar



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