Age of the blind almost over

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When we wake up in the middle of the night, in those first few moments of consciousness, we can see nothing at all if the lights are out. After about a minute, however, our pupils dilate, allowing as much available light as possible into the eyes. This then allows us to see fragments of what is actually in the room.

Nonetheless, in spite of this process through which our eyes adapt to low-light conditions, we still may trip and fall on the toy that our child left in the room the night before. This is because, ultimately, we depend on optimum light to see clearly.

I recently read an article by Afra Raymond entitled “Picking sense from nonsense” in the Sunday Newsday of August 28, which illuminated an issue that has plagued our young nation for far too long. Raymond highlighted a number of issues relevant to the consistent delays in the proclamation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act 2015.

While he stressed on the issue of the separation of powers, two excuses for the delays stood out to me. Public procurement entities are not ready? Really? The purpose of the act is “to provide for public procurement, and for the retention and disposal of public property, in accordance with the principles of good governance…” The act is directly geared toward promoting good governance within our public-procuring entities. Since when do we wait for people to get themselves in order before we implement our laws? When will they be ready? Certainly not tomorrow.

The second one is that there will be a wave of litigation. Really? Are we not going to implement a law that is supposed to protect the public purse because we think the judiciary will not be able to handle the number of cases?

Notwithstanding the fact that the act contains provisions to address this concern, this particular excuse not only speaks to the knowledge of what is going on within our public procuring entities but an unwillingness to address it because our judicial system isn’t ready. When will the judiciary be ready? Certainly not tomorrow.

Remember, good leaders don’t seek out battles but they are always ready for them.

We recently celebrated our 60th birthday as an independent nation and, truth be told, I have personally experienced bittersweet Independence Days for the past six and a half years. I genuinely, or perhaps naively, believed that one of this government’s first orders of business would be to implement this particular piece of legislation. Of course make any amendments that would improve it, but seven years? Madness!

Governments do as governments will. Indeed, in March, we were made aware that there was a will to fast-track the Interception of Communications Bill through the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and the Legislation Drafting Department. Well, we see how that ended.

I once held certain beliefs until real-life experiences removed the carpet and exposed the mess underneath. The mess was awful but the great news is that I couldn’t fix the mess if I didn’t know about it. We can’t repair any damage that we refuse to acknowledge.

It is so important that we start paying attention for ourselves instead of simply accepting what may have been fed to us for decades. As a literature student at Bishop Anstey High School years ago, I was taught to critically assess all situations. We were never encouraged to simply agree with the authors, even the great ones, simply because they said so.

I am grateful for the true light that exposes the mess, because, guess what, it gives us an opportunity to repair and to grow. I once was blind, but now I see and I never want to walk in darkness again. Allow me to boldly and publicly declare that the age of the blind is coming to a swift end and, just as swiftly, I believe we will breathe the fresh air again.

CERONNE BAYLEY