Make laws, break laws
Returning to this subject may offend some. Quite frankly, we don’t care!
It is now almost two months since the February 21 general elections and still all across Barbados election posters abound. These are posters that the election laws required candidates to remove before midnight on February 20, but still they can be found on utility poles and trees in every parish.
Why would our lawmakers have so blatantly disregard the law? And why would they continue to do so, even after the agency that is responsible for the conduct of elections in the country warned that to continue to allow this advertising materials to stand is a breach?
Perhaps even more relevant for law abiding Barbadians must be the question: How can our law makers continue to break the law while the agency that is responsible for enforcing it sits idly?
We have had some candidates tell how many thousands of dollars they had to spent to put them up and now they can’t afford to pay the same people to remove them. So much for planning and budgeting!
We have heard that the wind and rain will eventually bring them down — but fortunately, there has been little rain, as though Mother Nature is intent on showing up the double standards of those who would seek to be our leaders.
Then there are those who are apparently crying out for understanding by saying they removed those that were within 100 yards of a polling station, as though they have a right to rewrite the law or interpret it to suit their tastes — or lack thereof.
It is nothing short of disgusting that our politicians will continue to write new laws, amend old ones and speak about the need to enforce them all, but fail to show any regard for the ones that relate directly to them, and which effectively serve as a barometer of their intent to live what they speak.
Some may say we are not comparing apples with apples, but we will make our point nonetheless. How does the politician who sees no harm in letting posters remain in public view on election day and for weeks after, in breach of the law, differ from the youngster on the block or anywhere else for that matter, who puffs away at his spliff, convince he is doing no harm to himself or the larger society.
In almost every instance the smoker will tell you there is nothing wrong with marijuana — no different from the politician who dismissively retorts: “So what harm is caused by a poster on a poll?”
Absolutely none, we say. What’s wrong with a poster on a pole? What’s wrong with a little spliff? What’s wrong with cussing a policeman? After all, he doesn’t bleed when the words leave your mouth!
Before we blink twice 2018 will be here and it will be election time again. Some smart candidate or campaign organiser might determine: “Wait, nothing ain’t happen when we left up the posters last time. Don’t bother to take down the billboards. The Electoral and Boundaries Commission will only talk.”
Then, what next? What harm is there in ending meetings after midnight on election eve? After all, the polls will not open until 6 a.m. and a conscientious organiser can garner a few more votes in the interval! And which policeman will be so bold as to attempt to stop a meeting if a Prime Minister or the person expected to be the next Prime Minister is speaking?
Some may say this is all baseless conjecture, and they may be able to sustain the argument too, but we know that water will always run downhill, and we have embarked on a slippery slope. People will often follow effective leaders — whether or not they are on the right path.
As long as those posters remain we will keep returning to this subject.