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When silence is not golden, but suspect

It is not so much a tangled web being weaved in Christ Church West, but more of an unnecessary one.

Elements, not yet publicly identified, have suggested that MP Maria Agard is not pulling her weight in the constituency. It is a charge which the dentist by profession has strenuously denied. She has publicly given examples of a number of initiatives undertaken under her watch, to counter those allegations. Interestingly, no one has come forward to dispute anything which she has said with respect to her work in the community.

Some have pointed to health issues as if tacitly suggesting that this translates into an inability to service her constituents. Balderdash! Miss Agard has been very visible within the precincts of Parliament as captured by both electronic and print media. Her presence at public meetings held by the Barbados Labour Party within recent times has also been captured by the media. We daresay that we all have health issues, some more severe than others, and if this is the situation with the first-time parliamentary representative, we should all be praying for her swift resolution of any problem while respecting her right to privacy.

There have also been suggestions that shenanigans are afoot in Christ Church West, specifically with the purpose of facilitating a move from Christ Church South by Senator Jerome Walcott to that riding. Dr Walcott has stoutly denied this and has indicated he has no interest in Miss Agard’s seat, furthermore replacing her. We do not doubt the sincerity of Dr Walcott’s denial, nor do we believe he would orchestrate or be part of any mischief directed against his political colleague.

Then, why this sense of intrigue? Why the rumblings in the constituency branch? Who are the identities of those allegedly stoking discontent? Why hasn’t Miss Agard’s parliamentary colleagues, to a man and woman, publicly voiced their support for her and confidence in her stewardship of the Christ Church West constituency?

Supporters of the Barbados Labour Party will watch the goings-on in the constituency with great interest, having earlier witnessed the sordid happenings in the St James North constituency when some colleagues of former parliamentarian Rawle Eastmond had concluded that his shelf life had expired. Then, somewhat more vociferous and vehement than Miss Agard, Mr Eastmond had complained bitterly about operatives in his own party plotting against him.

Surely, party supporters would not like to see any internal political bloodletting at a time when the Barbados Labour Party is on a mission to present itself as a serious alternative Government-in-waiting.

The rumblings in the Christ Church West constituency also once again throw into focus the functioning, or somnolence, of the women’s branch of the Barbados Labour Party.

We recall that during the political savaging of Opposition Leader Mia Mottley by the Firing Five in the pre-2013 period, the Women’s League offered no public comfort, support or solace to Miss Mottley. We are not aware of any that was offered in private. Once more, as Miss Agard seeks to defend her stewardship, it seems a severe strain of laryngitis has once again afflicted the goodly women of the league.

Opposition politics is no bed of roses, and having the responsibility for a constituency under such circumstances, especially in areas heavily populated by lower and middle-income earners, adds another critical element to the dynamics of political representation. We have had one St Michael MP publicly speak to the headaches of not only representing, but living in such a constituency, while in Opposition. Party support, not intrigue, proves much more helpful in these instances.

Perhaps it is time that both politicians and constituents move away from the idea of representation equating to being seen in the village rum shop, at the funerals of constituents, smiling sheepishly in newspapers while handing out Christmas hampers, or wrapping hands gratuitously around the arms of the families of victims of house fires and the like. There is a tendency of some in our midst to see politicians as their saviour, some earthly messiah, whose elevation to the House of Assembly means the end of their troubles. Simpletons believe this nonsense.

Politicians should be seen as policymakers and facilitators; not saviours; with the onus still heavily on the constituents to make their own way in the world. Christmas hampers do not last past Christmas. Houses burn because they are houses, and people die because they ought to. Politicians performing perfunctory tasks, for all the feel-good effect it brings to some, does nothing for the quality of life for those caught up in the battle between red and blue.

At his juncture in our history with the economy in the mire, confidence flagging and the ruling Democratic Labour Party still very much under the microscope over its leadership, or lack thereof, any Opposition party that becomes entangled in internal bickering and stealthy manoeuvring, does not deserve to be taken seriously as an alternative.

We hope, that for our political process to continue to be at its most vibrant, Miss Mottley nips this folly in the bud; that Miss Agard finds the support among her colleagues which is deserving within the context of party politics; and that the Christ Church West constituents are made to feel satisfied with what they voted for on February 21, 2013.

Time will tell.

2 Responses to When silence is not golden, but suspect

  1. Babsie March 7, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Proverbs 25:7

    For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.

    Humility will win the favor of God and men. Humility is crucial to be a great Christian, a successful leader, a gracious person, or a man with friends. True humility never presumes on the activities, approval, or presence of others. It is far better to be invited than to invite yourself, because you may and should be rejected on the basis of such presumption. Let others make you important rather than trying to do so yourself (Pr 25:27; 27:2).

    Only half of the proverb is here. These words are the explanation and reward for taking a humble approach in public gatherings. The first half declares, “Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men.” Solomon taught humility by teaching good manners for social events. It is better to take a back seat and be invited forward than to take a front seat and be asked to move back in front of those present.

    The Lord Jesus Christ used the same illustration for humility, when He saw proud guests at a meal choosing the better seats (Luke 14:7-10). With greater detail than Solomon, as a parable is more detailed than a proverb, Jesus described the public shame of being asked to move lower versus the public honor of being asked to move higher! He concluded by declaring that He would reward humility and punish pride (Luke 14:11). Beware!

    While the shame of public dishonor and rejection makes the proverb potent and valuable, the pride of your soul is what must be identified and eliminated. Proud actions that offend others are merely the symptoms of an arrogant spirit and haughty heart. True humility begins in the soul, where you admit your worthlessness before God and commit yourself to serving others rather than expecting or demanding them to honor and serve you.

    How are you in group discussions? Can you calmly and patiently listen to others speak, or are you agitated with the need to talk? What about one-on-one conversations? Must you respond to every statement with one of your own? Why is it crucial for you to speak? Why do you feel the need? You are violating the principle of humility taught by this proverb. You should remain silent in most cases until your opinion is specifically sought.

    Consider a more distant application of this principle of humility and reservation taught by the proverb. If you are allowed the privilege to use a company expense account while traveling or for other assignments or perks in a job, you should always choose a less expensive place to eat and menu item than a more expensive place and costlier menu item. This choice is crucial for the character of a Joseph or Daniel necessary for success, and it will endear you to those over you approving the bills. They will trust you with more and tell you later to spend more. Many men cannot grasp such simple wisdom.

    Your success requires humility and meekness. God Himself will surely bring you down, if you do not hate pride, arrogancy, and presumption (Pr 8:13; 15:25; 16:5; Job 40:9-14). Men will reject you for friendship or business, for most men resent a haughty spirit (Pr13:10; 26:12,16; 28:11). And you will make costly mistakes, for pride is blinding and deceitful by its presumptions (Pr 11:2; 16:18; 29:23). Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and He will exalt you soon enough (Pr 18:12; Jas 4:10; I Pet 5:6).

  2. Tony Webster March 9, 2015 at 5:38 am

    Hi Babsie: I know not whether to thank you, or the original author, for all that you have placed “on the table”, but the Good Book surely “illuminates” those dark- and oft dismal- corners of our daily lives!
    All I can say is “thank you”…and please would you come forward to take your place …right up front? I will wave to you occasionally…from the back. Patiently.
    God works in such wonderful and mysterious ways!


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