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ministers must know when and how to speak
As we welcome the New Year with a spirit of hope, can we expect to see some positive changes in terms of what we do and say in our beloved homeland? The first we would like to see is an end to the contradictory statements emanating from cabinet members of this PP administration which, as if they did not know it, are giving the impression that the political directorate is not a cohesive body despite the repeated protestations of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
One of the consequences of these outbursts is that even though the PP has been doing some really good work, these achievements are being overshadowed by this apparent lack of discipline by the ministers of the government in the context of their public utterances.
For all the sins of the PNM administrations, one thing they had was that kind of discipline where not one minister dared to publicly contradict the then Prime Minister, starting with Dr Eric Williams coming down to Patrick Manning. Except of course when they fell out with the party’s leader, a la Dr Rowley, of recent vintage.
I am afraid if they do not know when and what to speak, the PP’s legacy could very well be one where only their penchant for unnecessary controversies would be remembered. Nobody is saying that they must not respond to the criticisms levelled by the opposition, but surely it is not everything the PNM says that should be routinely responded to by cabinet members.
Another change we would like to see is for some talk show hosts to demonstrate a sense of fairness, decency and honesty on their programmes, especially when dealing with public officials. Some of them clearly do not know the difference between insult and criticism, and one in particular is extremely toxic with the language he uses to describe people he does not like for whatever reasons—real or imagined.
I promised to reveal a list of the people who I feel are enemies of the state and this particular host, who takes a perverse delight every Sunday in abusing people who he does not like for one reason or the other, would be among the first three.
Shock radio does not give any talk show host a license to vilify those who may not agree with you, and it cannot be overstated that freedom of the media carries with it a required sense of responsibility to cherish the sacred task of being a radio, television or print media commentator.
One of our most prominent attorneys once said that insult is no excuse for argument and the sooner these knuckleheads get that through their myopic minds the better it would be for the media’s image. It cannot be that a person who is able to buy air time should do so in order to unfairly lambaste citizens who quite rightly refuse to take them on.
I did not hear him myself but several people told me that this host went so far as to wish that one of our former prime ministers was dead. I don’t think I am taking it too far if I should request the Telecommunications Authority to monitor some of these programmes carefully to ascertain if these errant people are not violating the terms of their licences.
In the New Year, too, we are wishing to see a quantum change in the attitude of some of our motorists who ply their vehicles as though they are competing on a racing circuit. It is no secret that the main cause of these fatal collisions is the unnecessary and excessive speed with which these motorists drive their automobiles, turning them into deadly weapons.
Again it cannot be overemphasised that in the absence of mobile patrols these reckless drivers will continue killing innocent people up and down the nation’s highway and byways. I cannot ever forget witnessing a woman going home from work and being knocked down by a car, dying on the spot.
In the flash of a second she became a road fatality. I recall asking a senior officer of the Traffic Branch why we were not seeing mobile patrols and the reason offered was no manpower. No expense should be spared to bring some measure of sanity on the roads, and lack of funds is not a viable excuse.
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