Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Government by dishonour

Published:Monday | December 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Meleisa Witter

Even the most patriotic Jamaican is unable to disavow the reality of the scandalous, 'dutty' politics our governments insist on engaging every single time they are in power.

Fraught with all kinds of malodorous undercurrents and the usual lack of accountability and transparency, the People's National Party and chairman of the National Housing Trust (NHT) have continued in the trajectory of rank disrespect to the Jamaican people.

It is hard not to see this Outameni experience is a messy affair. It has once again confirmed a deep lack of respect for hard-working Jamaicans. What makes this infinitely worse is that our NHT contributions are practically a case of 'hol' down and tek weh', since we have no say about how much or when our NHT contributions are made. It is deducted at source (for most Jamaicans).

Easton Douglas' strident declaration that he will not resign is in concert with a history of warped, self-serving behaviour by indecent politicians and organisational leaders who are allowed to get away with their behaviour until it becomes commonplace and there is no fear of recrimination.

Apparently standing in full support is party stalwart Robert Pickersgill, whose utterances about 'blowing over' and Twitter are so absurd it would be funny, if the matter was not so grave. I am not inclined to think Mr Pickersgill was being rude deliberately; perhaps a little archaic and definitely out of touch, something which unfortunately characterises the Government in general.

But what is it about our greatest servants why they have become so common and repugnant to us? The comments made on Facebook, and I dare say Twitter, speak volumes about the lack of respect and clearly the lack of honour directed at our politicians. Certainly, there are some people who are only too aware that politicians hold the key to the material god's vault; so in their presence, there is the obeisance; behind them, however, it is dishonour.

While on public transport recently, I peripherally saw the man sitting next to me dialling a number, and moments later announced to his travelling companion, "Di bwoy nah ansa him phone enuh. When laas him link yuh?" To which came the response, "Nuh from him ask wi fi do di ting, man, and mi noh hear back fram him, but call him straight line, man, 'cause him mussi noh si seh a Chrismus a come. Him tink wi a @#$% wid him?"

A few seconds later, these foul-mouthed, coarse fellows got through to the person's secretary on his straight line and, much to my chagrin, asked for Minister X! My jaw dropped to the floor. What the hell was such a respectable minister doing with these chaps that they could be audacious enough to be styling him as 'bwoy' and had his cell and straight-line numbers?

Criminal associates

Shortly after they exited the taxi, I noticed a ratchet on the seat beside me, unwittingly left behind, having fallen from the pocket of the men's pants - pants strung several inches below his waistline. Such were the goodly minister's 'sparring Ps', I thought.

From A.J. Nicholson's highly inappropriate comment recently, to Everald Warmington's regular outbursts (he has been behaving in recent times), as a rule, our leaders on both sides of the political divide leave much to be desired. Yes, they are humans, too, and decidedly have a right to their moments of supposedly raucous, rambunctious humour. But gosh, man, there is a time and place for everything.

We want to believe that our politicians are a little better than us; that indeed when the title of 'honourable' and 'most honourable' are conferred upon them, they are truly deserved and not just symbolic and as useless as the mace in Gordon House.

Now is as good a time as any for our national leaders to do the right thing for a change. Let the very name of this Outameni furore foment change, as our leaders truly work for the good of the many. As we approach 2015, it is time that the scandals cease and for the dishonourable politicians to gain some honour.

n Meleisa Witter is a publisher and creative and editorial director of Caribbean Wellness & Lifestyle magazine. Email feedback to columns