Friday 7th March, 2008

Gillian Lucky
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Stop talking now

  • De plane, de plane, de plane flies in.
  • Good sense prevails in matter of balisier on plane.
  • Messengers of trouble shot and accused of cynic objectiv-ity.

If we could act with at least five per cent of our capacity to talk there would be few unresolved problems in this country. We are so taken to drama in this society with each speaker trying to outdo the other with content and “know about” that we appear to have forgotten the importance of meaningful conversation.

And it is because we are so prone to rhetoric that the politicians have discovered that each scandal features no more than nine days, after which it is sent to the memory banks of the population, only to be used for emphatic reference.

Nothing is done to sanction those who act with outrageous autonomy and with flagrant disregard for their oaths of office.

So the stadium in Tarouba that should have provided first class facilities for games in World Cup Cricket 2007 is still, without apology, in a state of incompletion and unable to be used as a tsunami shelter when the big wave comes.

And this expensive operation which stares the commuter in the face and reminds older folk of the millions wasted on the Caroni Racing Complex is yet another high-priced venture that begs for some kind of accountability and transparency in its undertaking and for which there has been no sanction for confessed wastage.

But do not hold your breath for any kind of substantive explanation on the matter because our inaction on urgent matters of public importance has resulted in the inadvertent waiver of our right to be reliably and properly informed.

Look de plane

Just take the recent example of the high-flying Bombardier jet which, on a personal note, featured in one line of my calypso composition 2007.

Much had been heard and said about this purchase and the clandestine manner in which it had been acquired. Some people who claimed to have sighted the craft were able to describe its look, give information as to where it was hidden and the personnel who had been hired to sit at the controls.

Rumour-mongering about the airplane was at an all-time high and those in possession of the facts refused to set the record straight, refuting claims of impropriety with counter-claims of mischief making.

The ping pong dialogue continued for some time and then, when another match began dealing with some other bacchanal, facilitating some quiet after the Bombardier storm, the plane ceremoniously flew in.

All that was missing were excited shouts of the announcement from a character similar to the lovable Tattoo who co-starred on the hit television series Fantasy Island and became famous for his words: “De plane, de plane, de plane is coming.”

Knowing full well that my position may be challenged by those who do not hold fast to the concept of rigorous objectivity, I have no problem with a Prime Minister having access to a jet plane in order to get to his foreign destinations. But the matter of the acquisition of the aircraft is one that should not have been clouded with such questionable secrecy.

Further, there should never have been any outcry by current ministers, who when they were in opposition objected strenuously to the purchase of top-of-the-line vehicles by the then Prime Minister, who had explained back then that the cars belonged to the State.

And he was right for when he demitted office the new Prime Minister and his wife were able to enjoy the ride in fully-loaded, luxury vehicles.

The logic used then applies to the situation now—these means of transport are not the personal property of the office holders but are owned by the State.

The fact that what is considered acceptable action is inextricably linked to political affiliation is a reality that primarily accounts for our current state of plight but which is another matter which will be dealt with extensively in a future article.

Move de balisier

There is no denial that if there is strenuous objection based on justifiable grounds, remedial action may be taken. Case in point is the welcomed decision of Caribbean Airlines to remove the balisier from the painting on the tail of one of its Dash 8 aircraft.

That so much effort had to be spent defending the indefensible was unfortunate but in the end good sense prevailed and hopefully a flower with no political association will be given prominence.

The suggestion has been made to replace the balisier with the double chaconia, the latter being not only beautiful but indigenous to our country.

For those who object to the smelter, who knows, maybe the constant pressure will force this administration to stop in its tracks and rethink its position.

What to say

Admittedly, it is difficult to find positive things to speak about with a crime rate that is soaring and a country that finds itself almost without hope.

There are those who would find me guilty of unacceptable exaggeration but such is the case when lawlessness abounds and those who commit the worst atrocities escape the hands of justice.

The problem that we face did not creep upon us overnight.

There were writings on the wall that went unnoticed and remarks by experts in the fields who warned that we were fast becoming a troubled society with glaring deficiencies.

Instead of plugging the holes and forcing ourselves to become a solution-oriented nation, we shot the messengers and accused them of cynic objectivity.

We were not prepared to change our ways for as the oil dollar fell and rose we were always able to keep our heads above the water.

But now our energy is little and like spent swimmers about to drown we are looking to those who could rescue us from the dark waters in which we find ourselves.

What we need is a boost, a positive wave from somewhere which will take us safely to shore.

Those who have been given the responsibility to run the country must do so without fear or favour and deliver proper service to all the people.

And when the people speak, cognisance must be given if there is merit in what is said.

If cries for positive change go unanswered, then appropriate action must be taken within the parameters of the law.

If there will only be talk with no consequence for inaction, then let us stop talking nah.

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