In politics as in war, timing is always important. But timing is everything. Those who choose the right time to do things are almost certain of success or victory. Choosing the wrong time could almost lead to defeat. This is in line with the saying, “Nothing ever happens before its time.”
Choosing the right time is an exercise of good judgement in that it provides an opportunity to explore conditions conducive to victory.
The decision by the government to increase the salaries of ministers was bad timing. It is bad timing because the economy was struggling with a GDP growth rate of under three percent, high unemployment, a huge national debt and increasing poverty.
The increase came at a wrong time when the poor are still hurting and are struggling to make ends meet. Further, they were in office for less than three months.
The decision by the government to increase the salaries of ministers is viewed by many as greedy and self-serving. They should have waited a little while longer. The timing was bad, and it has sent the wrong message to the country that sacrifice is not a requirement for ministers to increase their salaries, but for everyone else.
Public servants who have not received an increase in their salaries for over a year are furious and are demanding the same increase. They believe that ‘what is good for the goose, is good for the gander.’ It is the powers that be telling the public to do what they say, but not what they do.
The problem has been compounded by how the people found out about the increase. There was no advance announcement with an explanation from the government; not even a hint of a 50 percent increase. The nation heard of the increase from this news outlet and was dumbfounded. The failure by the government to communicate with the public does convey the impression, that it was an attempt to sneak the increase through the backdoor. When in opposition, the APNU+AFC coalition had promised to be transparent and accountable, but now in power, it is shrouded in secrecy.
Generally speaking, this is the perception which many have formed. It is rather unfortunate, but the government only has itself to blame for failing to communicate with the people on a matter of such importance. Its failure to inform the public of its intention, has led to criticism from the Opposition and from supporters of the government, locally and in the Diaspora.
Many in the New York Diaspora, who have worked very hard to help elect the government, are today terribly upset and disappointed. They felt that they have been ignored by the government and have not been considered for any positions.
However, it is very risky for the government to snub its supporters in the diaspora who have provided finances for the coalition. Obviously, this has not registered with the government. Instead of changing how it is perceived by the public, the government has chosen to ignore it. It is poor public relations which could hurt the government in the future.
Needless to say, the issue has opened up a Pandora’s Box which the government will find almost impossible to close. The 50 percent increase in salaries for ministers has infuriated the public sector workers who have not had a pay increase in over a year, and who the government claim it cannot afford to pay more than 10 percent.
Unions have seen the offer of 10 per cent as an insult compared to the huge increase ministers have given themselves. Their perception is their reality and it has eroded the people’s trust in the government. When the people’s trust in the government is eroded, their relationships with the government are ruined, sometimes to the point where it is irreparable. It cannot be good for the government. It is said that a day is a long time in politics, but timing is everything.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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