The people’s interest must come first
The good that I would, I do not but the evil that I would not, I do . . . . O wretched man that I am.
In the context of all the controversy that has been swirling around his administration of late, you would think that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart would have been far more circumspect in choosing a passage of scripture for use at last night’s political meeting in the St Michael South constituency.
Granted, his speech was made before a friendly gathering of mostly party faithful at the Bay Primary School, which lies in the heart of a traditional Democratic Labour Party stronghold, and of all places in the Prime Minister’s own constituency.
But with the threat of a “no confidence motion” still hovering over House Speaker Michael Carrington’s head, you would think that Mr Stuart and his cohorts would be much less contemptible than they have been of late. Indeed, as the leading servant of the people, we expected that instead of leaning, as he has, on the side of the embattled lawyer, that Mr Stuart would have been much more people-empathetic, going out of his way to show a greater appreciation of the concerns of the 235,000 plus members of the electorate.
We refer here not only to those who voted for him in St Michael South, but the wider constituency of Barbados as well –– especially in light of Mr Stuart’s unsolicited confession that his Government has not always met the desired morality standard.
“There is nothing wrong with the pursuit of high moral standards. In fact, we should all aim to do so. We don’t always reach where we want to reach, but we should always be trying. I think it was St Paul when he wrote his letter to the Romans who himself confessed that he tries; he doesn’t always succeed. In fact, very often he fails.
“We all have to try, but when you are trying and people who do not have any authority to challenge your efforts get up to speak, you have to put them in their place,” he told the gathering at Bay Primary last evening.
With that said, the Prime Minister, ably assisted by his Acting Attorney General Michael Lashley, who some would say should make some overt effort to take the high road –– not merely the highway –– spent an inordinate amount of time last night reminding us all that members of the Opposition are by no means any “moral exemplars”. Indeed, as Opposition Leader Mia Mottley has been made to understand, both speakers showed that politics could at times descend into a nasty blood sport.
But in the absence of any concrete evidence, we are not about to be distracted by their unsubstantiated claims surrounding the Crab Hill Police Station in St Lucy, a so-called Pegasus deal made in Jamaica back in May 2005, missing Barbados Labour Party funds and the like.
Surely, it would be a signal shame for either man to be in possession of such evidence and not present it to the public or have those culpable brought before the law courts for criminal accountability.
Ironically, the Government would have us all go silent on civil charges that have been brought against the House Speaker, while its members climb on top of a Lawrence Bannister-styled giant Trojan horse (as tempting as it may be for Donville Inniss in particular) in an elusive quest to escape the very legitimate discourse that continues to be had on the Carrington affair.
But certainly outside of bringing this matter to financial settlement, Mr Carrington still owes this country a satisfactory explanation why it took him 14 years to settle his outstanding debt to Mr John Griffiths, which would never have been a discussion point had he approached it with alacrity both before and after he was served with a summons informing him the matter was before the court.
So, while the Opposition may not have the “moral authority” to question Mr Carrington’s actions over a matter, which has, at the very least, had the effect of rotten egg poured over the mace, we in the media certainly do.
At this stage, it matters not to us if this issue was referred incorrectly to the Committee of Privileges, or how much lunch the Opposition has consumed in Parliament while opting to stay away from debate in the Chamber.
For, more important than the maxim “any lawyer who tries to represent himself has a fool for a client” is that which states “vox populi vox Dei”
–– “the voice of the people is the voice of God”.
Therefore for any lawyer/politician who foolishly puts colleague interests ahead of the masses of people there is no escaping the ultimate fate!