QUESTIONS: was the admonition from the president of our republic directed to our politicians justifiable? Has the pendulum of the Westminster form of adversarial politics now swung too far to the unproductive left? Are the majority of citizens, particularly our youth, now totally turned off, disengaged and fed-up with the kicksing that is taking place in our Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament?
Has ‘the grass’ that is our expectation of ‘coming together for the national good’ been so severely trampled to the extent that ‘our elephants’ in Parliament are now so disappointing that the admonition and call for a reality check by our president became so necessary? The answers to all four questions are an emphatic Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes!
‘A collaborative effort is what proper representation is about.’
‘The hallmarks of development and progress can only be achieved when you put aside animosity and embrace collaboration.’
So, what should be the dos and don’ts of collaboration in an adversarial Westminster system? Be reminded that your responsibility to the people is in finding a way to progress.
Address the issue, not attack the person. If you must, respectfully agree to disagree, while pursuing and finding common ground and areas of agreement. Put the interest of the nation before the interest of the party. Talk to your constituents; they too have their story which may be very different to that of your leader. Always exercise your ‘conscious vote’. Speak your truth clearly and with conviction, be it behind closed doors or in the glare of the public.
Do not oppose for opposing sake; in other words, don’t be an obstructionist to national development and progress. Don’t engage in trying to fool the electorate with half-truths and innuendoes; don’t ‘piss on my back and tell me it’s raining’. Don’t waste our time with ‘dropping bombs’ when you know for a fact that it is untrue. You look foolish and further lose our respect when, at the end of the day, it was all a sham. Don’t toe the line for the sake of blind party loyalty; your loyalty is in doing the right thing for national development.
Please, Mr Prime Minister and Mrs Opposition Leader, take the message of our President seriously; while not shooting the messenger, counsel your charges accordingly, lead by example and let the grass that is the expectations of the citizens of T&T not be trampled, but rather flourish in the good soil of collaboration.
Mario Young Glencoe