Recent display of boorish behavior and what amounts to a tragic race to the bottom by Parliamentarians, once again exposes the need for our country to get on the road to being a country of laws.
It is not unusual to see rude coarse displays on television by some who ought to behave at the highest levels and ought to set the best example because of their perch. This bad behavior is not confined to Jamaica’s house of representatives,but unfortunately has become a staple of other countries the world over.
As we pull our hair out in exasperation and disgust, we worry and are reminded that this new norm represents a departure from a kinder gentler time when people of all stripes respected each other. It is impossible to say whether we will ever return to civility or ever desist as Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller demands, or we must now acclimatize ourselves to these new normals.
South West Saint Catherine Member of Parliament Everald Warmington and North West St. Elizabeth Member of Parliament J.C. Hutchinson are the two offenders named in last week’s blow-up in the House of Representatives. Hutchinson seem like a kid who follows others and gets into trouble ,with strong corrective measures he can be saved from himself, Warmington on the other hand seem to believe that he is some kinda thug, it seem this guy genuinely believe that he is something special who should have no respect for anyone or anything bigger than himself.
As such Warmington has become the face of what’s wrong with Jamaica’s parliamentary system, and the break-down of decorum which has ensued within that body.
As I have argued before, passing laws and putting rules in place do not solve every problem. God knows, as a Christian I recognize that the good Lord sent his son to die for our sins, the Bible stated the Father knew we could not live by laws, it stated if we broke one we were guilty of all, as such we are now living by God’s grace because he sent his son to die in our place. It does not mean spiritually that we are not responsible for our transgressions, what it means is that we have salvation through Jesus Christ.
Even though we are not bound by ancient Biblical laws we are still required to obey certain rules and guidelines in the way we live our lives. It also follows that even though laws and rules does not solve all our problems we cannot operate without them.
The Prime Minister , well-intentioned though she may be, would be well advised that hugging and kissing may assuage hurt feelings, it may soothe ruffled feathers but it does nothing to restore discipline to the society and certainly not in the highest Legislative body in the nation.
The children are watching, the world is watching , as our country gears up for the revelry that is sure to ensue, all in the name of 50 years of Independence from Britain, many are still suggesting that after all that time Jamaica is now worse off than it was before Britain cut the apron-strings.
The behavior displayed by the two hoodlums in the house of Representatives toward the House Marshall Kevin Williams is symptomatic of what law-enforcement officials have faced daily for decades. The Marshall was reportedly sent by the acting speaker of the House to remove J.C.Hutchinson after his conduct within the chamber was construed to be intolerable, as per the reports, that is when the House Marshall was verbally abused by the two scalawags.
Hutchinson and Warmington are from the Opposition Jamaica labor Party, Lloyd B Smith who gave the order to remove Hutchinson from the chamber, may have been seen to be abusing that position with the issuance of that order, the solution however can never be to abuse the person acting legally to remove him. Hutchinson should have left and then seek remedy if there is any , if none is available as a legislator he should seek to develop legislation to fix that problem, that is what legislators do.
It must also be clear that those two members by themselves could not reasonably be concluded to be in contravention of House Rules or decorum, yet there was no mention of any Government members reprimanded in the process, as such Opposition members followed with a walk-out. Lloyd B Smith himself conceded he had erred in incorrectly applying the standing orders which led to the opposition walk-out.
I had an extensive conversation with a friend who happens to be a senior member of the public sector recently, I told him that the primary function of government is to provide a secure environment for its people. My friend a man who voted for and believe in the allure of the present Government and the party from which it was formed, delved into the complicity of what Government is responsible for. In the process he succeded in tying himself into an intractable knot from which he could not untangle or extricate himself.
His explanations seemed to mirror what I always thought about our country’s leaders, they see their positions and their task so complex that the average person cannot reasonably understand what they do , as such they are duty bound to do everything in their power to stay in power. The fact is, a secure environment does not mean only providing security, say with effective policing, but rather a government which is equipped to provide answers to crime , out-break of diseases, and any other problem that may face the population. That is governance, the private sector is capable of doing it’s part in the process.
If there is no security for farmers from predial larceny, farmers give up on farming, so too if there are outbreaks of crop-desease without remedy. If energy prices are too high it prevents the start-up of new businesses and makes it difficult for existing businesses to survive. If there is no security children cannot go to school out of fear for their lives. We saw that when the Security Forces went into Tivoli Gardens.
Simply put now, as I put it to my friend then, security trumps everything else, no one in leadership seem to understand this and neither does my friend.