Our Readers' Opinions
April 7, 2017
Politics: Government should be reciprocated by Opposition

 EDITOR: “Advice is seldom welcome and those who need it most like it least” – Anon

I am reminded of the saying that all that is needed for evil to flourish is for persons of goodwill to say nothing.

As CLR James pointed out long ago, cricket in the Caribbean is a reflection of society as a whole. One of the most important lessons to be learned from sports in general is how to lose with dignity and grace. It is obvious that in the Caribbean this aspect of sports is not sufficiently emphasized in schools. It was sometimes referred to as “building character “. As we have seen in the past, the response to losing in cricket has been damage to the playing area (invasion and throwing of bottles) and to abuse the umpire. We may have become more accustomed to losses in recent years.

It would appear that these tendencies have crept into the political arena…. perhaps unsurprisingly. Politics, like sports, requires that certain rules and courtesies be observed. If a political party takes the position that if it does not win an election it will play no part in the development of the country, then that is a tragedy. It must be understood by all that the Parliamentary Opposition has an important role to play in governance. To neglect this role is to make a mockery of democracy. In addition, there are a great many things that need to be done and which can be done, whether in or out of “Government,” as NGOs have always shown.

We need to take a step back and consider whether efforts to undermine the Government are in fact undermining the society; whether the aim of making the country “ungovernable” has also made it unliveable. It is worth remembering that no one can develop half a country. The important opportunity to develop a more appropriate and forward-looking form of governance in 2005-2007 was sadly squandered by all parties concerned. This, too, will retard our development for some time to come. But the electorate must be made to understand that the system cannot work unless Government and Opposition work together. Use of the rhetoric of war is to be deplored. Further the adoption of “party colours” is not a positive development and should be abandoned.

It does not require any genius to appeal to the worst aspects of human nature, as recent events in the US amply demonstrate. I fear that the consequences – on the larger as well as on our smaller stage – may be catastrophic, if it is not too late to reverse current trends.

 It is only when passion is tempered by reason that progress can be made. 

Ann Eustace