From time to time members of the opposition, including its leader, General Secretary of the PPP, and the former attorney general Mr Anil Nandlall, raised several issues, among them that of the transparency of certain actions of the government. This in my view can be a constructive element in the evolution of a healthy political culture provided at least two conditions are satisfied. Firstly, the issues should not be raised vexatiously and should respect the canons of decency. Secondly, the government’s response should honour the promises made in the APNU-AFC Manifesto, and should be timely and respectful.
I understand that in the legal profession there is a doctrine called the ‘clean hands doctrine.’ I do not know whether this doctrine is applicable to the field of politics. However, I do recall that when Fidel Castro was once asked whether he would shake the hands of a certain US President he readily responded, “Why not? My hands are clean.”
Back to the local scene: I believe that many observers were/are of the view that there were several transparency deficiencies over finance during the 23 years of PPP’s governance. The 2005 flood finances (much of it managed from State House), the Providence Stadium, Carifesta X, the Caribbean Press come to mind. Would it not be good for the Leader of the Opposition and/or the General Secretary of the PPP to give (a) an acknowledgement of these deficiencies, and (b) an undertaking that when the party is elected to office again the government it then heads will abide by the norms of transparency it now strenuously advocates.
For now I hope that the public can be given some assurance that the major political stakeholders will greet and deal with each other with “clean hands.”
As regards the former Attorney General Mr Anil Nandlall, it has been reported that he and a journalist had a conversation, the alleged contents of which have been placed in the public domain. Several of Mr Nandlall’s observations and asseverations attracted harsh public comments. Mr Nandlall I believe has responded to some of his critics. Yet troubling questions about the contents of Mr Nandlall’s conversation remain unanswered. In Mr Nandlall’s case I suppose what is required of him in the future is adherence to the ‘clean mouth’ doctrine.
Rashleigh E Jackson