Friday 19th September, 2008

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  • Relief to know there are few good men and women prepared to act without fear.
  • Some individuals have distinguished themselves as no-nonsense people.
  • Chief Justice Archie on mission to transform the judiciary.
  • Budget debate must not be trivialised by focus on politics.

At a time when there is constant and legitimate complaint that many who hold high office appear ill-equipped to perform their respective tasks, it is a great relief to know that there are a few good men and women who are prepared to act independently without fear and with tremendous fervour at the helm of their respective institutions.

We often lament that we have no leaders worthy of emulation and that those in charge suffer from a swell-headedness that cannot be easily cured.

The phenomenon that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely seems to ring true when one looks at most individuals who have reached high places and have since forgotten the virtues of compassion, humility, integrity and honesty.

They conduct themselves with unacceptable arrogance and impose themselves upon the people whom they claim to serve. Their track record is despicable yet they are rewarded for their non-performance by being given an extension of time in office.

There are instances in which people have been appointed to positions and by their own admission have underestimated their portfolios or not appreciated the weight of the workload placed upon their shoulders.

Such a misapprehension is understandable but failure to bat admirably when at the crease is unforgivable. And that is where the problem lies. We have too many square pegs in round holes.

Upgrade in justice

But that having been said, there are a few individuals who have been able to distinguish themselves in a short space of time as no-nonsense people who are prepared to ensure that there is appropriate transformation within their departments.

Such people recognise from the outset that the public is disenchanted with the current state of affairs and there has been too much talk and too little action.

That we have not yet learned that to whom much is given, much is expected is an indictment against all who encourage or participate in the wastage of our precious resources.

Such an accusation cannot be made against Chief Justice Ivor Archie who has expressly declared his mission “to ensure the judiciary looks like a country rich in human and material resources well before 2020.” It is to the credit of the Chief Justice that he has an extensive agenda for transformation and has set a time line shorter than the period when we are supposed to achieve developed nation status.

It is clear by the content of his address, delivered at the opening of the 2008-2009 law term, that the Chief Justice has charted a course that will redound to the benefit of the administration of justice.

The inclusion of all stakeholders and the indication that discussions are on-going with parties whose contributions are considered necessary to effect the relevant changes in the current system speak volumes to the laudable approach that has been adopted by the Chief Justice in his commitment to upgrade the present system.

Even better are the mechanisms that will be put in place to monitor and control all areas of activity including the delivery of judgments and improved accessibility to information on the status of cases in courts throughout the country.

When the Chief Justice achieves the stated goals it will auger to the benefit of the nation and will act as an impetus for others who are the champions of transformation to forge ahead to complete their unenviable task. As it stands the Chief Justice is on track and will make us proud.

Boom to gloom

We often forget that we have in the past moved from economic boom to gloom and that if we do not learn from our mistakes, history will soon repeat itself.

Representations and assurances that our present financial position and economic future are in good order despite indicators that seem to suggest otherwise are of little value to those who lived through the downturn in the 80s and 90s.

Bearing in mind that we are not all financial wizards and would want to be confident that mechanisms and measures are in place to prevent the adverse effects of any such economic depression, it is hoped that this matter will be comprehensively addressed in the budget presentation next Mon-day.

Far too often the budget debate is trivialised by the focus on politics rather than a discussion of policies. And while it is expected that parliamentarians from both sides will seek to gain political advantage, points must not be gained based on inaccurate representations or exaggerated versions of truth.

Two female politicians from different benches will have the opportunity to prove their worth as representatives of the people and it is hoped that they will not let politics get in the way of their overriding duty to country.

Here’s your talent

For a nation that is rich in natural and human resources, it is a downright shame that our wealth has not been invested in a manner that would bring us all hope, pride and glory.

The biblical story of the master who gave his servants talents is applicable to our situation, with us as the servant who did nothing but bury the talent, and then insulted the master.

If we continue to take for granted all the blessings bestowed upon us and expect that we will be rewarded, then we are in for a major wake-up call.

The time of challenge in which we live provides us with the opportunity to strengthen our resolve and prove our capability as a dynamic and knowledgeable people.

Instead of running to the finish line at full speed with our eyes focused straight ahead, we fall prey to political distraction and stumble along the way. We must set our goals high and not be prepared to accept second place if we can win the first prize. We must chart our course and stay on track.

As long as we perform to the best of our ability we will be able to account our God that we have run the race to the end and never lost the faith.

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