Wed | Aug 23, 2017

JaRistotle’s Jottings | Whither accountability?

Published:Thursday | June 29, 2017 | 6:00 AM

It was very interesting reading the contribution of Senator Kerensia Morrison wherein she spoke so matter-of-factly to the issue of bringing the reins of justice to corrupt politicians, the power brokers of society. Accountability is best achieved if it is applied from the top down: is not only mango tief fi go a prison, but also those dat tief di whole tree. Well said, Madam Senator, but let's face it, your fellow politicos probably have yuh off cause yuh mash dem corn. Bring justice fi bear pon dem? Yuh mad?

In mature societies, corruption, mismanagement and mistakes will quite likely lead to dismissal, early retirement, demotion or imprisonment. It used to be that the only way to get rid of a lousy civil servant was as a result of thievery or travelling overseas without permission, but at least there was a way. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any way to get rid of lousy politicians.

Unlike members of parliament (MP) who are elected and can only be removed through the people's decisions at the polls or by virtue of being convicted, even if they prove to be jackasses, the same is not applicable to those holding appointments to public office. Ministers, mayors and like appointees can and should be booted if deemed useless, and more so if they behave in a manner that is less than transparent. But it seems that it is 'we the people' who bear the burden for their bloops and blunders, while they move on to other massacres of public responsibility.

Looking back, I recall numerous cases where those responsible have outlived the 'nine-day wonder' of the issues and remained in office on the same blundering course. Remember the admitted association with gunmen? "Youthful exuberance" also comes to mind; the same youthful one who 'exubed' more electrifying blunders years later.

 

SAME SHIP, DIFFERENT DAY

 

I see where the people of St Thomas may be getting some long overdue reprieve from sufferation with the revitalisation of the old Goodyear factory. Goodyear used to be a beacon of industry and employment for the people of the parish until militant trade unionism was unleashed upon the management, forcing them into exile. The same unionists are now captains of transparency and 'senatorship'. Same ship, different day.

While we are on St Thomas, look pon di two MP dem: one still waiting to feel di people's pain and di other who di US did tek way him visa ... so a only Goat Island him coulda go. We are like fodder for cattle, Mombasa style.

And yet the politicos speak of gaining our trust, of accountability, of partnerships for progress. Ha! Until accountability reigns throughout all strata and sectors of our society; until there is a perception of equal citizenship and the rule of national morality, we will never see a better day. What will it take for governance premised on accountability - leadership by example - to become a reality? We have laws abundant, but no one gets prosecuted. We have moral impositions on the little man, but no such shackles for the lawmakers and their cronies. And if yuh mek noise, dem blacklist yuh fi life, or worse, 'nyam yuh food'.

When persons climb the tree of success, when they rise to positions of leadership, they should remember that there are others below looking up at them. Their actions and words are inevitably subject to public scrutiny, making it ever so critical that they keep their underwear, their integrity, clean and intact. If there is no underwear, no integrity, then just imagine what will happen to those beneath them. If there is no remorse, no accounting or no sanctions, their malevolence becomes the norm, and all below suffer their outpourings. So we must either impose the underwear rule, the integrity clause, or cut down di tree and bring dem back down to earth. Put them in shorts pants. Let dem feel di people's pain.

I am a firm believer in the rule of law. I am a firm believer in the principles of equity and fairness - equal rights and equal penalties for all. So a man soweth, so should he reap, regardless of his station in life. No one is above the law, and all should be held to account for their words, deeds and misdeeds.

Bye.