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The big clash

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England is the oldest parliamentary democracy in the world.

Over several centuries many written and unwritten laws and customs have come into being bringing maturity, balance, ethical values and sensibilities to the political culture. So, certain practices have become the norm in the functioning body politic. England has, through the export of English tailored constitutions, sought to introduce its political standards and mores into its former colonies. {{more}}

An Example

David Blunkett is a British politician of vast integrity and ability. He has held several senior cabinet positions and is a trusted ally of Prime Minister Tony Blair. Although physically blind, his structured mind is insightful and far-sighted in vision.

His sin

An e-mail surfaced showing that a visa application for his ex-lover’s nanny had been fast tracked. The e-mail had said “no favours but slightly quicker”. Where is the sin?

“Any perception of this application being speeded up requires me to take responsibility,” says Blunkett. Prime Minister Tony Blair described Blunkett as a force for good in British politics who had left government with his integrity intact. It has now come to light that the offending e-mail came from Blunkett’s office and not from his personal hand or will. Nevertheless, he has taken blame and accepted responsibility.

Not allowed

As harmless, trivial and marginal as the above may seem to the Vincentian and Caribbean mind, the English press speaks with one mind in saying, “This sort of misuse of office is not allowed in British politics.”

In our Caribbean

What would have been Blunkett’s political fate in the Caribbean? The common view is where politics and ethics clash in our Caribbean, politics is always the winner big time.

So what? Our ethical and moral transgressions are usually casually dismissed with the utterance, “So what – that’s life – wha fo dat.” Since these frequently repeated transgressions are now part of our culture, the question that focuses the mind is: “Are ethical standards in the practice of our politics, in terminal decline?”


Like a mantra, Dr. The Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves beseeches and preaches, at almost every opportunity, for the “ennobling of our Caribbean civilization”.

For sure, our ennoblement, in all fields of human endeavour, is a must in this day and age. It is a big challenge to be met and handled, head on, with urgency. But are we really ready for the task ahead when our transgressions find a comfortable home and welcoming host in our political, social, cultural and economic environment?

Maybe in fashioning a new Caribbean we may wish to import just one or two things still “made in England”!

Nothing is wrong with DAT!