Bring back decorum to Parliament
THE EDITOR, Sir: In early 2012, the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives made it clear that order and decorum would be a major feature of the new Parliament.
Today, there is a worrying trend among our politicians and other notable public figures. The once-dignified propriety of behaviour, poise and speech is a diminishing quality that leads me to oft wonder what percentage of them might be shortlisted amongst Jamaica's list of statesmen and women in the annals of our history.
Statesmen are usually politicians, diplomats or other notable public figures who have had long and respected careers at the national or international level. Such careers would not be associated with cuss-cuss, cass-cass, boogooyagga, hurry-cum-up, heng-pon-nail and teggereg behaviour.
Such careers would preclude association with public vulgarity in speech and body language, disparaging remarks about ladies, insensitivity, dishonesty and immorality in dealings.
I fear that an escalating and more recent burgeoning of ungentlemanly, unladylike and uncouth behaviour is making this statesman thing a real stretch.
As a realist, I do not subscribe to the view that we should look to officials, sportsmen or politicians for exemplary or model behaviour. I am a proponent of the principle that home training and self-discipline should be the bedrock for good behaviour and morals.
I am quite sure that the mix of folks in the Houses rightly provides for a wonderful blend of personalities. There is nothing wrong with humour, occasional impishness, and colourful language of the kind that makes most of us grab our dictionaries. There is nothing wrong with the occasional spat in the name of defending the people's business. Our differences make us interesting, and who does not love a sprightly and spirited debate!
We are at a critical juncture where our nation needs leaders who can argue with reason, fight without vulgarity, reason without fear, debate without disrespect, and disagree without malice. We have enough bad behaviour, disturbances of the peace and trash talk on the streets. Surely we can do without it in Parliament and platforms that ought to espouse pride.
Enough of the ignominy! Bring back decorum!
SANDRA M. TAYLOR