Wednesday, April 11, 2018

UNEASY LIES THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN







I can't now remember who first wrote the story "Uneasy Lies The Head That Wears The Crown" but I do remember having to read it in the original Latin. Basically, the story was about a poor man who was hauled before the king for some minor infraction. Before the king sentenced him the poor man said to the king that he couldn't possibly understand the stress that a poor man had to suffer. The king answered him by asking if he (the poor man) didn't think that kings suffered even greater stress than poor people. The poor man scoffed at this and said how he would love to be king, even if only for a day.


The king then said okay, but the deal was that the poor man would have to sit on the throne for the whole day and not get off. The poor man happily agreed to this and they exchanged places. The poor man looked at the king down below and asked how he could possibly regard this job as stressful, to which the king quietly replied 'look above you'.


Hanging by a horse's hair was a razor sharp, huge scimitar (sword). If the hair broke there was no way that the occupant of the throne could escape. And the slightest breath of air could cause the hair to break. The poor man understood then what stress the king had as at any moment his life could be ended while all the poor man had to worry about was putting food on his table.


All of the recent goings on inside the Government reminded me of this story, for it is common knowledge that Dr. Rowley wanted the job of Prime Minister and did all that he could to dethrone and defame his predecessor, Patrick Manning. Now that he has got the job he is becoming painfully aware of the various scimitars hanging by horses' hairs over his head.


I'm not going to bother commenting about the Daryl Smith imbroglio. That story in itself speaks volumes for itself. But there are other "swords". Take, for example, the Maxie Cuffie matter. The unfortunate Mr. Cuffie suffered a serious and debilitating stroke that has left him incapacitated for the last six months. No right thinking person can do anything but wish Mr. Cuffie a full and speedy recovery. But the business of the country is not about feeling empathy for an individual. The business of the country needs to be carried on a daily basis and will not wait indefinitely for an individual (no matter how deserving) to get better. Six months ... half a year ... is too long to wait and it doesn't matter how good a person Mr. Cuffie is. What matters is the answer to the simple question: can he do his job as a Parliamentary Secretary and as a Member of Parliament? If not, then the interests of the country require that he be replaced in both positions as soon as possible. And the next question: is he coming back now? If not, when?


And by the way, section 84 of the Constitution reads "A Minister or a Parliamentary Secretary shall not enter (emphasis mine) upon the duties of his office unless he has taken and subscribed the oath of allegiance for the due execution of his office (emphasis mine). In other words, in order to take up his new position the unfortunate Mr. Cuffie will have to be sworn in. Simple question: when is this going to happen?


And the list of problems goes on. There is bringing Ms. Marlene McDonald back into the Cabinet for the third time in the short life of this Government. People in the know say that this was done to shore up Dr. Rowley in the upcoming internal PNM elections. There are unconfirmed rumors that certain elements inside the PNM are planning a "palace coup"  and Ms. McDonald's appointment is to strengthen the Prime Minister's hand in the internal elections. Is this true? I honestly don't know. But the story sounds plausible. There are certain persons who are nothing if not ambitious and some of them have major backing from very wealthy financiers. Certainly, a Prime Minister who wants to keep his job will pay attention to such rumors and take steps to counteract any possible actions that might be being planned to remove him.


Then there is the infamous Galleons Passage or "Ferrygate" affair. Minister Imbert took great umbrage the other day when it was suggested that the boat wouldn't be here until May. Speaking personally, I don't see how it can possibly be here before June ... but that's not my point. My point is that it is clear that there are massive problems with the sea bridge and as Prime Minister that particular buck has to stop with Dr. Rowley.


And again the list goes on. The economy. Crime. Education. Health care. You name it. But the point here is that I am certain that Dr. Rowley had simply no idea how difficult it was/is to run a country. Certainly, one is entitled to ask whether or not he understands that even now. There are multiple reports of his playing golf during the week at times when one would reasonably expect him to be at his desk.

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