Posted by: nastylittletruths | June 24, 2012

Hijacking our Legislature

Apathy is described as an absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement, or a lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting… So most of the time I feel like I should get back on WordPress and write, but laziness is a helluva thing.

But after the alignment/reconfiguration/shuffle thingy yesterday I got me the urge to get on my soap box and talk about my favourite topic – hijacking of the legislature by the executive; ergo, elected members who no longer see (care?) about the people, but only in the perks of a ministerial portfolio.

Let me relate two incidents that occurred over the last 6 odd weeks… First, I was representing a company I do work for at a graduation ceremony put on by the Ministry of Tertiary Education in early May to highlight their Workforce Assessment Programme. As the Minister, Fazal Karim, was there I cringed every single time a speaker acknowledged him before the sitting MP, Rudy Indarsingh, in whose constituency the event was being held. And this is what I complain about here all the time: why should an elected member of our legislature play second fiddle to an appointed member? Do you see where our emphasis is on when it comes to office holders?

Second event was a week ago attending a Ramayan Yagna (a Hindu prayer meeting) held at the office compound of old family friends and Dr. Tim Goopeesingh as the MP for the area was invited to say a few words. While greeting his constituents, he apologised for the “rare occasions” that he does see them because of his being “busy with his ministerial duty” and if I was not in a place created for worship I would have to muffle an expletive. Seriously? This is a valid reason for being an absent MP even though that’s your first job?

Barack Obama during his election campaign had told US citizens not to ask if government was too big or too small (a big issue over there) but if it was working. So I ask you now – with all 29 members of the ruling party having a “wuk” (even Nela Khan the Princes Town MP as Deputy Speaker) is our cabinet too big? The entire US of A has 15 executive departments; we have 30 ministries… The heads of those 15 departments, or Secretaries, can be hired/replaced/fired any time at the President’s pleasure because their role is to advise him on any subject relating to the duties of their office; a cabinet appointment here is a “gift” to an MP by the PM to ensure his/her support and their role is to execute policy of the executive. At that precise moment, they no longer represent the people who elected them into office. And we know how they like that position and the perks that go with it.

Out of the 30 ministries, 11 are headed by appointed members of the Senate. No one voted for them and I have absolutely no problem with bringing in talent to run the executive once we had a Constitution that debarred them from being a voting member of a legislature. Constitution reform anyone? Been there before, haven’t we? Do you really think we can trust a government to lead reform when they’ve learnt how to manipulate the current rules? Uh, no… Just like Patrick tried to do a few years back, CRF was only meant to be a vehicle to get more power…

Sorry Kams, but you fooled no one shuffling your deck of jokers. What you did do was create a nest of vipers and I know (as I am sure you do by now) that there is a dangerous clique of three there that between them can rob us all blind. One epitomises what is a fixture in third world politics – a quick talking “smartman” who has made his wealth from questionable activities but portrays himself as a saviour of the poor and downtrodden. One is ever the political animal having done the NAR/UNC/COP? hopping – called you a drunk and the most unmentionable word for a woman in 2007 when he was on the other side of the political divide, but yet rewarded as a state utility CEO and now a Minister. The last of the three came from the public service, but owes his past and current ministerial position to the grasshopper. A man who does the bidding of both and looks like the stereotypical scapegoat for when things go south.

Serve the people, but pay yourself first…

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