Sunday, February 10, 2013

Let Oppositions Rule - the Peter O'Connor commentary

We should have learned by now that the most moral, ethical, transparent and effective organization in the country is the Opposition in Parliament. And it is not just the current Opposition which has these attributes, but the species, in all its incarnations and at all times. 

Most of us become dissatisfied with our governments. It is a natural flow of events. It has nothing to do with us, other than we are affected by governments’ failings, corruption and incompetence. Even those governments which we had enthusiastically supported at election time have rapidly let us down, and caused us to mount valid criticisms at their performances.

For the first few weeks after an election in which we voted in a new government most of us support the newcomers. This ranges from the effusive praise by their sycophant wing, down to the critical skepticism of those who doubt and whose doubts begin to prevail. 

And of course there are those who represent the sycophant support of the Party which had lost the election. These are the ones who sneer at each initiative, every new law brought to parliament. They predict the confusion and failure that will come from these initiatives. 

And in the end, they are often proven correct, and they swoop down upon the wounded initiative to snatch whatever morsel of “I told you so!” that they can. 

And the rest of us, those who are reasonably neutral and only live in hope that one day we will get good governance (but from where we have no idea!), soon join the hyenas and vultures to critique and ridicule these fools whom we happily elected. 

But we all have such short memories. As we mount our criticisms against the incumbents, we completely forget the immediate past, and the medium term past, and the distant past. We are only concerned with beating up on the present, and the promise of change to nothing better in the future.

I have no problem with people being critical of any, or indeed all of our governments over the years. They have all deserved our criticisms and censure, and we know that who we voted out deserved to have been voted out. But I do have problems with critics speaking from levels of righteousness to which they have no claim. 

And none more so than the Party in Opposition in Parliament! And I am not just referring to the current incarnation of the PNM in the current Parliament. This cloak of righteousness with which all “oppositions” have tried to wrap themselves sets the standard of the hypocrisy in our society.

We, the voting population have every right to be critical of our governments. But few of us have any business being righteous in our
condemnation, because very few of us in this country are entitled to claim that we have standards of morality, ethics and honesty higher than the politicians we condemn. 

But first let me add this disclaimer to you, Dear Reader: Of course it cannot be you personally to whom I am referring! You know of course that you are above reproach, and you would never ask around if any of your friends “knows somebody” in some government office where your business is stalled. 

And of course you will never abuse the litter laws, the traffic regulations, or fail to conform to all the regulations regarding the businesses you run. I refer to the rest of the population who you see breaking the laws daily, and “getting through” with some government-related application because they “know somebody”.

And the truth is, in this country, “knowing somebody” transcends political party lines. For reasonably small favours, old schoolmates, liming partners and the like will see your business expedited, without a direct fee. And for major favours, money can and will pass comfortably regardless of party affiliation. It’s just the market, folks.

But back to my narrative: When I see the feigned expressions of horror at a current government’s failings, and more so when these startled cries of indignation are coming from the very persons who abused
integrity, honesty, transparency and efficiency when they were in office, I wonder if we can ever improve our current state? 

And when I realize that our media will never say “but wait a minute, you found this behaviour totally acceptable when you were there”, I know that we can never change. I am always in awe at how our media fawns over the criticisms of government by former Ministers, whom the same media used to blast when those former Ministers were leading the chronic wrongdoing in our country. 

So I recommend, and this opinion is reinforced by the “consensual choice” of our new President last week, that we change our constitution to allow the Opposition to govern, for clearly the Opposition always knows best. Play Mas’!

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai