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The PM’s New Year’s wish

Published: 
Monday, January 8, 2018

The Prime Minister’s address to the nation last night was exactly the kind of New Year’s resolution one makes this time of year. A pledge to save more, spend less, cut fat, fix things that are broken, and get things right.}

It was the kind of homily that encourages you to keep hope alive, rekindle faith in mankind in general and find the confidence and courage to believe that the war against “career violent criminals” can be won.

To back up this call to hope and action, Dr Rowley last night confidently declared that “we must, and we will, win this war on crime.”

But if like most New Year’s resolutions, good intentions and plans are forgotten within a month, this country is facing a bleak future. At some point during this year we will determine how much the Petrotrin “fake oil” fiasco will cost tax payers and by the time the year comes to a close, we’d be able to tell if Dr Rowley’s promise to “identify white collar criminals, track and hold them to account” has been kept. His promise to win the war on crime, will be self-evident.

The report to the nation last night seemed reminiscent of a “State of the Union” address in the United States, punctuated by justifications and explanations of fiscal measure challenges and failures. It is our hope that, one year from today, many of the promises and pledges made last night, would be kept. Our leaders do rather well with making promises. Keeping them, seems to be the challenge.

Wearing black...and blue

The call to wear black this week to acknowledge the disconcerting trend of violence against women—a move led by NGO “Is There Not a Cause” (ITNAC)—is but a single, noteworthy step. Steps like these have been taken before- newsprint roses dipped in blood red paint handed out to parliamentarians, temporary boycotts of business places where crimes against women have been committed, concerts and social media shame-campaigns against abusers.

Wearing black to demonstrate we will not forget the blood that has been spilled, reminds us of the wives, daughters, mothers and sisters, who are brutalised every day.

But what comes after wearing black? What next for the woman who faces verbal, emotional or physical abuse every day? Make-up and medicine can only mask so much. Are there enough resources, support systems or mechanisms for women to maintain a sense of self-worth after being brutally shamed by partners?

Some victims of violence actually have perfect lives on paper. In pictures, there are smiles and perfection is projected, but the mental and physical scars left from objects thrown, chairs broken, shouting and shoving…are seldom seen. We must do more to stop the blood spilled every year.

Gender and competence

The consideration of Justice Paula-Mae Weekes is welcome news, as it appears to come with the blessings of the powers that be on both sides of the political divide.

The possibility that this country’s 6th President could be a competent, respected, female jurist, is not just about gender, it is about the fact that she is widely respected, well accomplished, and a force to be reckoned with. This is something to be proud of.

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