Friday, December 15, 2017

Attack less, address issues instead

Allyson Jones once said: "If I could wish for my life to be perfect, it would be tempting but I would have to decline, for life would no longer teach me anything."

I am sure the Honourable Prime Minister, Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, as a former educator, would have this imbibed in her psyche and, as such, would explain how she is able to continue holding the mantle as Prime Minister in the face of mountainous adversity—indeed, an anomaly—as other predecessors have had to face (I encourage all to take a cursory glance at all the headlines in all the dailies for 2011 and look at 2009 and 2008; remember to also look at editorials, columnists, and letters to the editors and decide).

Under the former administration, a commendable thing was done with respect to providing assistance to Cabinet ministers to ensure effective and efficient execution of duty—they were allowed to have a personal staff, selected by the minister and remunerated by public funds to work in tandem with apolitical public servants to get the nation's business done.

In keeping with the aforementioned, Mrs Persad-Bissessar, like all other Cabinet ministers, past and present, has the sole prerogative to choose an adviser, personal secretary, personal assistant and personal chauffeur/driver. These folks must be competent and loyal, and the office-holder must feel they can trust that individual with their phones and being privy to confidential information. It is not endemic to her and Trinidad and Tobago; all over the world, this happens. Let us look at the US first lady, Michelle Obama—she has over 20 staff members and would have had to have a say, like all other first ladies and presidents, in who are selected to serve them (Do the research, read extensively and get your information from credible sources).

I liken certain Opposition members to the verse from Romans in the Bible: "Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips," in how they have perfected the art of vilifying and assassinating the character of the Prime Minister— they have vehement objections to her clothes, shoes, religious rituals and who stays at the official residence.

I am thinking that using us as a benchmark, those females who are studying political science or desirous of entering the domain, may be apprehensive as the current Prime Minister and her family are under a calculated network or "mafia"-type espionage, who scrutinise every minutiae of the Prime Minister's personal life with malice and viciousness, only resulting in what many like to hear—mauvais langue, sensationalism and things that devalue and demean people.

I ask all, didn't Margaret Thatcher, the current Queen of England, the current prime minister of Australia, the current US first lady and many others in public life walk around or travel with a hairstylist, make-up artist and others to ensure that while they kept long days with several appointments and engagements, they had to look their best?

Times have changed and, as such, we need to keep evolving. The House of Commons was traditionally a male-dominated Parliament, however, in 1997, the powers that be realised they had an influx of female members and, as such, had to infrastructurally change from having several male bathrooms and one female bathroom to have more restroom facilities for women.

I sum; we all need to examine ourselves and ask what have I done or how have I assisted in the development of my country. There is so much to be done, and we have to stop pointing fingers, come out of the evaluation mode and desist from attacking persons and start addressing issues. There is work for all. We need to change the mindset of many young people who are deviating from societal norms and engage in prevention rather than curing.

How many of us have looked at the newspapers and seen the Ministry of National Security stating they have mentoring programmes and are looking for mentors? How many of us know all the programmes offered by the Ministry of Gender and Youth Affairs or the Ministry of Social Development where we may assist or recommend to a friend, or a group of young people who need direction or a dislocated or disillusioned person who is a pessimist and does not see that there is a "cloud with a silver lining"?

Let us stop the foolishness and join hands with the Prime Minister and her Government, so the penultimate line of the National Anthem and the similar sentiments echoed in our Independence Pledge by Majorie Padmore may ring true through every aspect of our lives in our beautiful twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago: "I will strive in everything I do. To work together with my fellowmen. Of every creed and race. For the greater happiness of all. And the honour and glory of my country."

Hansen Stewart