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Lawmakers orlawbreakers!

A new session of Parliament has started and as of yesterday there have now been two sittings each of the two chambers.

It is also now three weeks since the most recent general election in which the Democratic Labour Party, led by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, was given a second consecutive term in office.

And it is now a week since Chairman of the Electoral and Boundaries Commission Owen Estwick voiced concerns that long after the ballots have been counted, Cabinet portfolios assigned, and various oaths taken posters and other campaign paraphernalia are still prominently displayed in public, especially utility poles.

“I can tell you that Section 13(1) and (2) (of the Election Offences and Controversies Act) , expressly forbids, and you will probably notice that there are still a lot of things still up, but the particular offense would have been on polling day. That’s the operative thing here. They should have come down ever since; they should have been down as of midnight before polling day,” Estwick said in an interview last week.

“So it is a flagrant breach of the Election Offences and Controversies Act and it is one of the things we will have to look at when we meet next week.”

Ignoring the concerns of ordinary citizens, who not so long ago were the electorate they begged to vote for them, about these unsightly electioneering items is bad enough.

But what message are our lawmakers sending when they, from all evidence, have practically ignored the concerns of the EBC chairman, and, by their actions or rather lack thereof, ignored the very laws people like them would have discussed and approved.

It is unacceptable, and indeed hypocritical, for Members of Parliament to journey from their homes and offices and on the way pass images of themselves, their colleagues and political opponents, but yet have the temerity to verbally flog members of the population for various infractions, and then seek to put laws in place to stop the practices.

The aftermath of the 2013 general election campaign is by no means the first time that posters have been visible afterwards, but certainly it has not been this bad following most recent elections that have preceded this one.

In the middle of concern about drug peddlers, gold thieves, praedial larcenists, traffic law violators, people who litter without a second thought and individuals and groups guilty of other forms of unlawful activity, someone needs to remind the election candidates who not so long ago became MPs, senators, etcetera that they, as law maker, should be leading by example.

If they do not, they should not be surprised if the youth who should be respecting them and aspiring to be in their position scoff at the idea of being politicians.

Neither should they be, or be allowed to be, the proverbial stone throwers when the places they inhabit are made of glass — as is certainly the case in this instance.

We are sure there some of the folks with seats in Parliament, perhaps the majority of them, who will scoff at such matters, considering them minor when Government has major financial problems, and society has greater ills.

That may be true, but allowing double standards in whatever they might appear is not good enough. The EBC chairman’s words did not seem to have an impact, neither have those of ordinary Barbadians, and it would not surprise us if ours also fell on deaf ears as well.

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