We are collectively in need of far more than laws, policies and programs and personnel which are only concerned with tinkering here or tinkering there; and whose vision is limited to the day to day work of merely keeping things from dropping to pieces.
It is also quite evident, that we live in a culture where talk is obviously cheap. We also happen to live under a political culture where those who would comprise the so-called elite ranks in the system routinely ignore any and all points of view that do not meet with their instant approval is also quite evident.
There is also that other more pertinent reality where vested interests are loath to have anything done that would affect them in any material way; thus their reluctance to sign off on any proposal aimed at real fiscal reform.
The same thing applies to the public service – a set of systems which – taken together – conspire to keep things the way they have always been; thus the boast from some to the effect that while Ministers come and go, the Permanent and Pensionable is just that, “permanent and pensionable”.
One of the more interesting side-effects of the Progressive Liberal Party’s great victory in the last general elections has to do with some of the rhetoric they now employ as they try to tackle issues arising in these hard economic times.
To be blunt and to the point, much of this rhetoric sounds suspiciously like some of the stuff the attentive public now recalls as having come from the mouths of this or that Free National Movement operative.
There seems to be an emergent sense suggestive of the conclusion that some of the challenges we face are rooted not in the politics of the moment, or in the personality of this or that minister, but in the system itself.
We still must cope with roads that are dug up; businesses that are failing as a consequence thereof – and a similar set of conclusions now arise concerning issues germane to education, schooling, social welfare and crime, among other such issues.
Indeed – and as we look in on some of the rhetoric concerning what the current administration is doing about the security question, we see that they are doing as much as they could within the parameters they met.
More to the point, they seem to be building on foundations they met.
The same conclusion applies to the management of the nation’s fiscal affairs – and so the crisis continues.
We have no reason to believe that this nation’s public schools will somehow or the other change in the next few months [or for that matter, in the next few years].
We are similarly minded as regards this nation’s safety and security.
Indeed, we recall that there was once a time in the recent past when a then still-optimistic Free National Movement could and did boast, “The record of this Government clearly shows that no effort has been spared to provide the Police Force with the necessary tools and conditions of service required to effectively address crime…”
As Tommy Turnquest, then Minister of National Security did boast, “… The listing of resources provided to the Police Force since 2007 is long and impressive. It includes the enlistment of some 435 new officers; the investment in the acquisition of new equipment, vehicles, technology and crime fighting tools; the renovation of the Central Detective Unit Building at Thompson Boulevard; the upgrade of the Communication Control Room to improve the 919 system and a new automated locator system and the successful implementation of the electronic monitoring system for accused persons on bail…”
Then there was this triumphant FNM-Ministerial note: “…I am pleased to announce this afternoon that the Government has approved the company who successfully tendered to provide for the implementation of the Municipal CCTV project in New Providence…”
Interestingly enough [and so, notwithstanding the change in government, there is today little evidence available to show any real change in governance].
Systems in place continue to perform as they always have.
In addition, the problems we have persist.
At this juncture, the jury is still out on current Minister of National Security, Dr. Bernard J. Nottage who has declared, there is a war going on out there on the crime front.
Only time will tell whether he and his colleagues have what it takes to go beyond mere systems maintenance, moving forward.
In time, we will surely know.