Politicians, think twice before you speak!
February 25, 2020

Politicians, think twice before you speak!

Persons in leadership positions, especially those holding political office and those aspiring to such, must be ever so careful with their public utterances.

The nation is only a few weeks into the silly season and already we have cause to pause to remind our political leaders that because of their tremendous influence, they ought to think twice before they speak.

One politician’s reference to three constituencies being low hanging fruit (in this case mangoes) that can be easily picked and sucked, has been retailed by another politician, but twisted and mischaracterized to include a strong sexual connotation, in order to score cheap political points.

While some find the greater offence to be the obscene twist that was given to the common expression – “low hanging fruit”, generally used in organizations to mean easily achievable goals, an equally worrying aspect of this whole mess is that young, impressionable listeners who may not be familiar with the metaphor will go away with a false impression of its meaning and use.

Perhaps this was not a case of deception, but rather a case of a politician getting carried away with poorly executed picong or being unfamiliar with the metaphor. If the latter is the case, we ought to be very worried as it is not unreasonable to expect of our leaders, a certain facility with the English Language.

Then we hear of another experienced politician saying that should a certain politician go back into the constituency in which he last ran, the people would “stone him off the platform”. That comment may have been made in jest, but it is very unfortunate, and the politician who uttered those words should have known better. He has been around long enough to know that there is always that one fanatical supporter who would take a comment like that as a suggestion or even an order, with a potentially deadly outcome. Stoning in the political context takes us back to a time we should try not to revisit, and because of the history of our politics, the reference should have been avoided.

This is not to say that we should not celebrate and preserve the richness of our language or eschew the picong which we have come to expect on the political platform. But our leaders must consider how their words might be interpreted and avoid saying things that could lead to injury or that are downright lewd, cheap or dishonest.

In this silly season, we must all use our heads and act responsibly.