Sat | Jan 20, 2018

Can they be trusted?

Published:Saturday | September 10, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Last year, a Jamaica Labour Party apologist wrote, in his Sunday Observer column, that Phillip Paulwell was not deserving of the national award of the Order of Distinction (Commander class). The columnist had that right.

But consider this! On a Friday afternoon late last year, the then leader of opposition business in the Senate, Tom Tavares-Finson, in a radio interview with Dionne Jackson Miller, excoriated the Senate president, Floyd Morris, for ordering the marshal of the Parliament earlier that day to the ladies' room at Gordon House and remove a female opposition senator and take her back to the floor of the Senate.

On the Tuesday following, Senator Morris held a press conference at which an examination of the surveillance system at Parliament revealed that the female senator had never entered the ladies' room and that, at the material time, she was with Tavares-Finson and Senator Robert Montague in the lunchroom.

There was not a mumbling word of apology, including none to the marshal, from Tavares-Finson or from Montague, who had also sought publicly on the same Friday afternoon to corroborate Tavares-Finson's ladies' room story.

Well, let us see how things have turned out since then. Montague has been appointed national security minister. Tavares-Finson has been elevated to the presidency of the Senate, and he is now to receive the award of Order of Distinction (Commander class).

So, how are our children to be convinced that there is no good reason to lie? If holders of high public office can shout out that kind of demeaning untruth about the president of the Senate, an upstanding citizen and a married man, and without retraction and apology, then receive lofty accolades, how are similar offenders to be spoken of?

And, by the way, I don't seem to recall any word of disapproval from the Office of the Children's Advocate, or from any other quarter, when a Jamaican was convicted and served his sentence for sexually assaulting a child and was deported from the Middle Eastern country, only to be met and accompanied at a press conference by the then leader of the Opposition (now prime minister) and the present minister of tourism. I wonder whether Member of Parliament Juliet Holness approves.

And so again, I ask, how do our leaders have the stomach to call upon our citizens to adhere to the rule of law and to cultivate good morals, when the opposite action attracts such grand reward?


Highgate, St Mary