Monday, January 22, 2018

Parliamentary flights of fancy

 Writing in  the Express of March 25, Gillian Lucky has presented, sensibly and in measured terms, the case against overbearing misconduct in public office, homing in on the recent events on a flight from Tobago, which arose, ironically, while efforts were, and are, still underway to fathom the tragic fate of a missing plane and its passengers over the Indian Ocean.

Reflecting the nation’s anxious anticipation of the PM’s reaction to the affair, Ms Lucky volunteered that the “Westmin-ster system of government does enable the Prime Minister to use a firm hand” against, in effect, delinquent ministers. In the event, the minister involved has been summarily dismissed and the PM is to be congratulated for this, while the action of other authorities is awaited.

Without in anyway seeking to nit-pick or detract from Ms Lucky’s helpful observations, I must take issue, however, with her premise as to the PM’s powers to hire and fire. These arise from our Constitution, not Westminster, a concept to which she and certain “public intellectuals” at UWI in St Augustine remain fatally wedded. 

Moreover, the PM’s ability to exercise the constitutional powers in mind depends very much on her political powers or, to put this another way, her political capital, which, on this occasion at least, were, and was, irresistibly strengthened by the timely intervention of Ms Lucky herself, among others, including, above all, as she perceptively appreciates, the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, with 2015 vision very much in mind.

Rawle Boland

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