Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Integrity test trumps debate

Published:Monday | February 15, 2016 | 2:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

As Professor Trevor Munroe, executive director of the National Integrity Action (NIA), has so strongly declared, the importance of political debates, particularly during a campaign season preceding a general vote, could hardly be doubted. Let us agree, however, that such debates are trumped by the issue of the integrity and credibility of an individual who seeks the position of head of government as we come to exercise our franchise.

That sentiment, with respect, would surely loom large within the compass of an organisation such as the NIA.

That is why there is surprise at the approach taken by the NIA in its perhaps-too-quick response to the insistence by the PNP that deep-seated issues relating to the integrity and credibility of the leader of the Opposition be properly addressed by him before any question of a debate with its president and our prime minister could arise.

Such a response by the Opposition Leader would speak far more loudly to the interests, and the entrusting of the destiny, of our people - and the mission of the NIA - than the conduct and outcomes of any debate, don't you think?

Of course, the suggestion would inevitably be made by some that the questions could be asked during a debate. They should be advised that such a forum does not lend itself to queries of that nature being made and properly addressed.

Further, a perusal of the questions that have been posed will reveal that, if the answers do not erase all pointers towards untoward activity, that fact would clearly shift the goal post considerably and become a game-changer as far as the contemplation of debate is concerned.

In our small society, the issue of the integrity and credibility of any individual who asks us to place our fortunes and our destiny into his/her hands assumes a higher place on the personal, and the national, agenda than any debate.

A.J. NICHOLSON

Legal Adviser

People's National Party