I write this letter with much pain and concern for our democracy, civil order and structure of our society. I listened to the debate in the Upper House from its beginning to the adjournment at 10.30 p.m. Most of the arguments were cogent based on the side of the argument that the senator was trying to postulate and this was quite satisfying. However, my exception to this assessment was the presentation of Dr Rolph Balgobin.
For Dr Balgobin to listen to the presentations of his fellow Independent Senators and the Opposition Senators and can still say he doesn’t understand the problem or why the bill should not be supported is quite worrying, and says a lot about some who the society depends upon to protect our democracy against the vagaries of the Government and the Opposition.
It might have been better if Dr Balgobin had abandon the acting and just say he was in support of the measure. While most of the right-thinking people would have disagreed with him, I am sure now they would have had more respect for him.
I hope Dr Balgobin reads this letter which I am writing in the simplest terms and language possible so he may understand what the outcry is all about.
Firstly, the reason why we are called a society is that we accept certain social norms and values that create a sui generes and a collective consciousness for the governing of our actions and movements.
This acceptance is due to history and process, in which we call socialisation as these values are transmitted from one generation to the other. Abrogation from these structures that bring civil order and discipline is done through deviance which can be internecine or collaboration through consultation.
The Constitution is supreme in maintaining social peace because it’s a document that is accepted by the vast majority—not 51 per cent or 60 per cent or 16 votes in the Senate, but the vast majority of the population.
It is here the problem with the Government’s efforts to amend the conversation lies. The population needs to accept this measure or be given an opportunity to accept and this can only be done through consultation and a referendum. It might have been better if the Government were attempting to have a bill on referendum passed instead of this bill before the Parliament.
Stability in a society is maintained where the population in large parts accept the system of governance, the laws and the process whereby those laws are achieved. Once this is compromised in the minds of many, as is the case with this bill, a volatile and dangerous situation has been created.
I leave one example: supposing the Opposition wins the next election and loses in a run-off vote, with all the anger and distrust of those in Opposition to this Government that exist now in the society, what do you think will happen? A word to the wise is sufficient.