We need a different crop of politicians

Dear Editor,

In terms of sensing the vibes, of seeing through and beyond things political in nature, I make bold to say I possess the spiritual vibrations of the mighty Mt Roraima. Yes ma’am, I have been in town long enough to observe and come to the uncomfortable conclusion that most politicians are of a special breed – they don’t even seem to breath the same air as us ordinary folks.

Editor, two forthright articles in the Caribbean Daylight of Friday, October 23, 2015 by David Hinds and Vidyaratha Kissoon gave me a nice feeling, a kind of renewed hope in a small way, ephemeral though it was, for upon reflection I don’t see our new bosses being moved one iota by what those two enlightened brothers had to say. Yes! I’ve become that cynical. Both pieces by David and Vidyaratha ‒ ‘It is the government’s turn to trust the people’ and ‘Fools for democracy’ ‒ were thoughtful and practical, and I honestly wish that as Vidyaratha said we could have more sincere brothers/sisters coming on board in calling a spade a spade and not the tomfoolery some are indulging in.

Having said that, kindly allow me a slight diversion that is not unrelated.   I got my rose-coloured spectacles broken quite some time ago, hence I scarcely see anything political optimistically.   It is my take that we will not witness any substantial change unless there is a revolutionary change in thought patterns. This means that a new crop of leaders must emerge, possessing true nationalistic pride who will willingly and consciously adopt a different and positive posture and orientation, so that even if they fall short on a well-structured policy, once they are sincere objective and decent, we can live with them.

For me there are no such discernible types about and around. God, where have all the flowers gone? Why is it we have become so adept at changing the frame and not the picture? Why is it always so difficult to walk the talk.   We clamour for change and often end up with a carbon copy of what we had.   Editor, the increase handed out to government ministers within a mere four months in office is a classic example of what strange creatures politicians are; it seems as if the masses will be forever beguiled – the word double-cross just flashed across my mind ‒ anyway, like the poet said, poor people are always in the rain.

Catchy and glamorous manifestoes are paraded about along with grand promises, but somehow after the ascension to office they don’t seem to belong. Which brings me to make the point about how politicians learn their geography best around elections time, when every hole, every hill, every valley is visited.   They find people no matter where, since every single vote is a heartbeat, then when it’s all over and done they may never see those places again until maybe next time around.   I have read the flood of letters, the majority from important, high-profile, credible and well-recognised individuals who have taken issue with the brazen 50% increase, and more so the arrogance of “no apology,” as though they thumped themselves into office. Oh, by the way, it was nice to see that act of courage and I hope a sincere gesture by the Minister of State in finally offering an apology to the nation for his rude “no apology” remarks, not forgetting the Prime Minister’s careless and flippant utterance that it will soon be forgotten – see how politicians think?

Editor, I’ve heard some really provoking and clumsy talk in defence of dishonesty from activists and supporters of the new coalition government, saying that promises made during the elections campaign were regular and run of the mill gimmicks meant to capture votes; that only the simple minded would have relied on them.   Then you see why we need a different crop, a new breed with a new orientation; then you see why even with the flood of caustic criticism from here and abroad were of no avail; bitter, vexing and outrageous as it is was, it was considered a priority and so a done deal.   But like I said, I have been in town long enough to know a thing or two.   Wasn’t it one of their own, a former Soviet Leader who said “politicians the world over are the same; they promise to build bridges where there is no water.” You see, he was frank.   However I’m certainly in favour of the recommendation of principled WPA activist Tacuma Ogunseye, that the government should make a pledge to the nation promising that there will be no more increase for ministers during the remaining life of this government. This, I think, can in some way can serve as a palliative.

 

Yours faithfully,

Frank Fyffe

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