Parliament needs statesmen to steer the ship of the State on a safe course
With regards to your ‘Peeping Tom’ article of Friday 11th May, 2012 on the Ethnic Relations Commission, I might support the view that the action of some members of staff, maybe four or five, may have harmed the perception about the Commission’s future ability to be impartial. Fact may often be distorted by perception.
The fact is that each member of staff is an individual, who is entitled to an opinion, and a choice of which political party he/she supports. However, it is made clear that in the office and at work, they are to remain neutral. I know of one incident where an individual, working with the Commission, brought into the office political literature and application forms concerning a particular party. He was severely reprimanded and nearly dismissed. However, it was a first offence so he was not dismissed, nor was the offence repeated.
The Commission can do nothing to reassure staff they will be paid. Staff may continue to work at their own risk, it is their choice. Can it be expected that anyone will pay transportation to and from work, and all the expenses of a home, to go to a job which cannot even advise when salaries will be paid? Be realistic. So, some in desperation chose to go to their elected representative in a Parliament which failed them, to complain about their immediate problem.
Parliament is the culprit. It has failed to act on the E.R.C matter since 2007. “Is na me, is he”. This is the blame game, which the parties use to avoid their responsibility, in this case since 2007. Then, as now, each Parliamentarian is responsible to each person for his/her job.
It may only be twenty jobs. In the scheme of things a mere twenty; but if you, as an individual, lose your job, and your family suffers, it is very different. Parliament runs the country but it is also responsible to the citizens for their quality of life.
Currently there is a Parliament which needs statesmen to steer the ship of the State on a safe course. This calls for fluid positions based on arguments put forward. It is my understanding (right or wrong, I don’t know), that in the last Parliament, the matter of the list of constituents was agreed at sub-committee level, but failed to be approved because of one stumbling block. This block has been removed. It is my understanding (right or wrong, I don’t know), that the Parliament can, once all members agree, adopt the list of constituents proposed by the sub-committee of the last Parliament. In this way time may be saved to appoint new Commissioners (long overdue).
Parliament created this child, the E.R.C, perhaps a subvention can be made to keep the child alive with a further allocation until such time as new Commissioners are appointed and the subvention increased.
I dislike having to write such a letter but circumstances seem to warrant it. Many persons do not seem to understand that the constituents who make up the constituency are not from Parliament but from various organizations, which choose a person, normally by a vote of members, to represent it. That person’s name is sent to Parliament, which in turn will forward the name to his Excellency to be sworn in as Commissioner of the Ethnic Relations Commission. Seven Commissioners, when sworn in, elect their Chairman.