Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ministerial responsibility must come first

 The doctrine of individual ministerial responsibility is a convention used and practised in governments using the Westminster system that a minister of the executive bears the ultimate responsibility for the actions of his ministry and department. 

It is held that the accoun­table minister must take blame and ultimately resign and the rest of the executive is not held to be answerable for that minister’s failure. 

If there are instances of corruption, acts of misbehaviour or any other sort of impropriety that is found to have occurred under the minister’s watch, they are liable and responsible.

It has been an essential convention and principle warranting that elected and non-elected officials who serve in government are answerable for government’s decision, and it also forces and motivates ministers to closely scrutinise all activities coming from their ministries.

In this latest scenario, the utterances and retorts from former minister of sport Anil Roberts is totally inconceivable and incomprehensible, even to someone with 47 chromosomes.

Minister Roberts, who is often referred to as “motor mouth” in some quarters, given he is so garrulous and rambunctious with it, fully concurred with this principle of “individual ministerial responsibility” when it involved his erstwhile colleague Herbert Volney and the Section 34 brouhaha. 

As usual in our neck of the woods, “what is good for the goose is certainly not good for the gander”. The blue-eyed boy has slipped to the bottom and wants everyone to carry on as normal.

The doctrine of individual ministerial responsibility entails four precepts: inform and explain, apologise, take action and resign.

The revelations as outlined by the audit report and statements by the head of Government in Parliament last week are a source of serious concern and really should place the doctrine of individual ministerial responsibility to the front, given what has unfolded with the LifeSport programme.

While the doctrine is not regula­ted by statute and done mostly out of convention and developed as such by precedent, we really need to look at the fact that the titles given to those in the executive/legislative/judicial arms of the State are “Honourable”, and as such when one has behaved in no less a way, they should do the noble thing.

Mr Roberts, the nation thanks you for doing the honourable thing.

Carlyle Hinkson

Diego Martin