Friday, April 19, 2024

EDITORIAL: Speak – but speak wisely

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“Our chief want in life is someone who will make us do what we can.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson   
Hopefully, we could be forgiven for being sombre today but recent developments within the country are giving us a sense of drift and lack of direction. Yesterday, Parliament met and hopefully the impression would have been given that something is at last happening.
The economic outlook by the International Monetary Fund for negative growth over the next two years and the emergency situation facing the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are sufficient to depress Barbadians.
At times like these, the country needs a dose of inspiration from its political leadership. The leader must set the tone for compelling possibilities and give hope for a brighter future.
Someone has to take responsibility to give hope to the citizens of this country. Barbadians are more educated and of necessity are more critical of leaders and institutions. In a sense, there has been more of a democratization of common sense.
What we have been getting in the main has been stoic silence from our political leadership. If you cannot put your words where your mouth is, are you a coward? By that token, if you do not practise what you preach, are you a hypocrite?
We see this compromise in expediency in ourselves and in others, including those we hold in esteem. Is silence less than golden when it becomes the camouflage for consent? You are silent because you haven’t the gumption to open your mouth and say it like it is.
Later, you explain to yourself that you had no choice; you wanted to speak, but the time was not ripe; the occasion was wrong; you were afraid the boss would be offended.
Some have given silence so much virtue, made it sound strong and introspective, as if the void in speech was evidence of great character and deep infection. It is also the most insidious response to perceived miscarriage of justice.
The recent decision by the Caribbean Court of Justice is a case in point. Its recent decision on the Shanique Myrie case is part of the community law of Barbados, whether we like it or not.
The impression given at a meeting of the St Philip North branch of the ruling Democratic Labour Party suggests that the Freundel Stuart administration is firmly opposed to any notion of “hassle-free” travel within the region.
Now that the Prime Minister has broken his silence on this topical issue, it is going to be interesting to see how it turns out. On a larger issue, it seems like a snub to the court and could be interpreted as an anti-CARICOM posture.
Government’s case was not one of national security. It is very unfortunate that at this juncture Mr Stuart should indict himself and his administration with words when indeed the silence was more vicious an indictment than speech.

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