Childish Behaviour

WEDNESDAY’S “incident” in the House of Assembly was another example of the immaturity of our politicians.

The Prime Minister and some of our colleagues in the media are trying to sell us the idea that what occurred was “unprecedented” but we know that it has happened before, a result of the cat-and-mouse game that the supposedly grown men and women in our parliament play with each other, especially at budget time.

Maybe there was some merit after all, in Dr. Anthony’s recent reference to a new entrant into the political arena as a “little boy” because of his physical stature. Maybe it is only “little boys”, at least intellectually,who are attracted and accepted into local politics.

The House of Assembly is an important chamber in our democracy where the business of the people ought to be conducted with honour, respect and responsibility. But this is not being done. Instead we find supposedly grown men and women, but especially men, servants of the people, using this important forum to play silly games, all with the intention of gaining an advantage one on the other, or one party over. It’spappyshow politics all over again, the kind we thought we had put behind us when we began electing, or so we believed, better intellectual material to parliament.

It is obvious that there are no set rules or order in the House, dictating exactly how debate on the estimates of expenditure should proceed, thus taking away from anyone the right or opportunity to play games with the peoples’ business. We have seen this behaviour on other occasions as well, like in determining the timing of general elections. This is why many are of the view that a specific date for such elections should be enshrined in our constitution, to take away from the prime minister the habit of toying with the opposition on the question of an election date as we have seen repeatedly in this region, as recently as in St Kitts and Nevis and now in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

But there were some revealing points about Wednesday’s no show. One was the fact that the government with such an overwhelming majority in the chamber 11 to 4 at the time, did not feel confident or comfortable enough to lead a debate on its own estimates. It begs the question: why should the administration demonstrate such insecurity if there was confidence within its ranks that its policies were good for the country and were producing results, that it was turning the economy around, and that the people were satisfied with its stewardship? Here was an opportunity as the incumbent, to go on the offensive and nail the opposition to the barn door.

On the other hand, the opposition might also have missed an opportunity to prove its mettle even in the face of the lack of documents that it claimed were not given to it. An opposition that is worth its salt must be prepared to join the government in debate under any circumstances, if only to earn its credentials as the alternative to the incumbent.

Wednesday’s event was childish on the part of these servants of the people.

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