Wednesday, 13 June 2012 02:30
By George ‘Rick” James
Here we go again with the politicians and the spin-doctors trying once more to lead us down a blind alley. This time the deception is centred on the fallout from the aborted vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.
By now most people are aware that the well publicized and eagerly anticipated debate on the proposed motion of no confidence took a sudden and unexpected nosedive. In other words, the whole affair ended not with a mighty thunder, but a tame whimper.
The premature demise of what was billed as an historical event was due to the indisposition of the Leader of the Opposition who was also to be the mover of the motion. Or so we were told.
But no sooner had the information made the news than whispers and rumours began to hit the streets that a secret deal had been made to have the motion withdrawn.
The Prime Minister, as I recalled, was the first to give the impression that he was not aware of or had anything to do with a deal. A similar denial followed just as fast by the Leader of the Opposition.
But just when everybody was prepared to put the matter to rest, the Attorney General crept out of the woodwork in a cloak and dagger manner and gamely disclosed, on a radio talk show, that a prominent opposition member had approached him with a view to 'derailing' the proposed motion.
It is hard to know what or who to believe. Everything about the lost motion appears to be riddled with a lot of devious political twists and turns. On the one hand, the Leader of the Opposition would want us to accept his words blindly that after nearly a lifetime spent at the top level in the Parliament, he was not aware of the rules relating to moving a motion.
On the other hand, when asked about the absence from Parliament of his wayward and recalcitrant minister, the Prime Minister (who has a similar track record in politics as his opposition counterpart) was heard to say that it wasn’t strange “for a member to miss a sitting from time to time”.
But bear in mind that the occasion was not going to be a regular run of the mill sitting of Parliament, but an extraordinary debate that could have seen the downfall of his government.
Pardon my effrontery, but it appears to me that both leaders, for whatever reason, are feigning ignorance of the parliamentary procedures and machinery. Don’t be fooled, they know the Westminster model of democracy, which we claim to practice here in this country and it would take a divine being to convince me that the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are telling the truth.
If I can know that there is nothing wrong with the government and opposition making secret deals in the dark corridors and hidden passages of Parliament, so too do the all players concerned in the shenanigans. Once the interest of the people is not compromised in any way, deal-making is a legitimate practice in getting the business of Parliament done.
Unless the Attorney General is part of what appears to be a scheme to pretend ignorance of the system, he would know that if there was any serious intention on the part of the politician who approached him to make a deal, then what he told us transpired was a highly unorthodox method.
By convention, both political parties have or should have someone chosen from among their numbers called a “Whip”. One of the most important functions of this individual is to make sure of the attendance of Members of Parliament to vote on crucial issues like a vote of no confidence. Another is to act as the deal-maker or the “usual channel” as is known in parliamentary language.
And don’t forget the role of the Speaker to hold a private meeting with the deal-makers.
It seems that trying to fool the people has become the order of the day on every issue where politicians on both sides are required to give an honest and truthful answer.
Tell these masters of deception to rewind and play another tune instead.
As an aside, it should be clear now to all those who are calling for the errant minister to be thrown into the lions’ den, that since he was not under the edict of his “Whip”, he had no obligation to be present and can continue to be as disobedient as he sees fit.
The time has come for our members of Parliament to act like professional politicians and not amateur schoolboys.