Sunday, April 14, 2024

Mixed messages and confusion


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A NUMBER OF ISSUES THIS WEEK were sure to attract national attention and perhaps even left us confused and bewildered. The situation was made all the more astounding by the brazen action of squatters in The Belle to make illegal water connections while there was official endorsement of unauthorized additions undertaken to National Housing Corporation units by some tenants. These two issues added to the blurriness across our landscape – making it harder to see what is right and what is wrong.
Maybe, we need an outsider to provide a shrewd observation on what ails us. After all, we have had many years of excesses and with the growing appetite to support many things which we know to be wrong, it is indeed time that we do the right thing. It is important to let leaders in all spheres of endeavour know that they are dealing with people who are thinking and who will examine their every action.
It is unbelievable that squatters in The Belle can continue to live in a zone where our underground water supply could be easily contaminated and in so doing flout a number of laws related to matters ranging from squatting to the brazen theft of potable water.
Then we have the situation where many NHC tenants have flagrantly disregarded the regulations required for construction or expansion.
In either situation, it is not only that people have disregarded the relevant laws, but such violations would have been known to many who have the authority to stop such actions.
This situation has shown that laws and the enforcement of such laws can become ethically corrupt. Clearly we have taken a stand here that things strictly allowed by law may be unethical.
These actions also have the ability to render some of our institutions ineffective and lacking any moral authority. The Town Planning Department, The Barbados Water Authority and the National Housing Corporation must all expect stiff challenges to their decisions and rulings in the future.
 These developments also highlight how things can seem so black and white for those of us outside a situation, but can be so grey and difficult for those entangled in it. It raises the question: how do we find a framework for addressing ethical issues in our everyday lives?
But to lament what has taken place would be fruitless. In some ways these two violations of rules and regulations will leave many who choose to live by the golden rule in total astonishment.
It is symbolic of what has been taking place in many spheres of our national life – mixed messages and confusion. We can sit around and bemoan our fate or we can own up to it and take a decision. Remember, decisions always involve a choice between right and wrong.


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