The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].
In writing this article I am guided by the wisdom of Edmund Burke when he wrote: “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”
The level of mediocrity that exists among public officers and more so among those of the higher echelons, is appalling. I read with much disgust the recent behaviour of:
- Audrey Gilkes-Gittens, Permanent Secretary.
- The searching of Dr. Loraine Friday, MP for the Northern Grenadines at the Grenadines Wharf.
Audrey Gilkes-Gittens – Permanent Secretary:
I thought that the office of permanent secretary could not be more debased, when Audrey Gilkes-Gittens allowed herself to become the Deputy Chair Person of the ruling ULP and an executive member of its Woman’s Arm, but worse to hear her representing the ULP at a meeting in the Office of the Supervisor of Elections discussing electoral matters is beyond comprehension. If Mrs. Gilkes-Gittens does not understand the level of her debasement, I invite her to read page 3 of the SEARCHLIGHT of 16/06/2015 when in an interview, Julian Francis, General Secretary of the ULP treated her with the contempt she deserves, when he said: “I don’t know a Permanent Secretary was present in the meeting. I know my Deputy Chair Person was present in the meeting.”
The searching of Dr.Loraine Friday, MP for the Northern Grenadines at the Grenadines Wharf:
According to the back page of the VINCENTIAN, newspaper of 26/06/2015 under the heading: “DR. FRIDAY OBJECTS TO POLICE SEARCH…”
“‘I couldn’t understand why he wanted to search my bag. He didn’t give me any reason, he just said words to the effect that he wanted to search the bag and that I was not going on the ferry unless he searched the bag.’… Dr. Friday noted that he objected to being searched at the Grenadines wharf on previous occasions.”
“He recalled an incident about three or four months before, during which he complied with a police search, and by the time the search was completed, the ferry had left without him.”
“When contacted on Wednesday … the top cop explained that the police officers have a right to search anybody at ports of entry and exit at anytime, for anything illegal.”
Definitions of Ports of Entry:
- A port of entry is a place where one may lawfully enter a country. It typically has a staff of people who check passports and visas and inspect luggage to ensure that contraband is not imported. International airports are usually ports of entry as are crossroads and rail crossings on a land border.
- An airport, harbor, etc where customs officials are stationed to supervise the entry into and exit from a country of persons and merchandise.
If we are civil and accept the international definition of Port of Entry, how can the Grenadines Wharf be designated a port of entry for vessels, people and goods plying their trade between St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Like so many other public officers, the Police Commissioner and the Permanent Secretary are creatures of PM Ralph Gonsalves and they are under the ‘Rock’.
It is protocol that a police officer pay obeisance to a Member of Parliament. A police officer can search anyone at any place, any time if he suspects that one to be the holder of anything unlawful. Was Dr. Friday, MP, a suspect? Could you imagine what would have happened if that MP were Camillo Gonsalves? To routinely search anyone entering or leaving the Grenadines Wharf is absurd and BACKWARD. The Grenadines Wharf is a vessel terminal, relative to the bus terminal at Little Tokyo. By what definition could it be termed a port of entry? Is Dr. Gonsalves going to offer an apology to Dr. Friday as was done to him in Barbados, when he broke protocol; or the US government did in the case of Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves?
NDP must hold itself accountable for the disrespect that is meted out to them
The NDP more often than not subscribe to their own disrespect. The following will bear testimony:
- At the first sitting of Parliament in January 2011, the Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan, voted, contrary to section 24(3) of the Constitution. A Spurious Speaker was elected.
Contrary to section 42(2) of the Constitution, this Speaker, announced that he would seek a legal opinion on the matter. The members of the Opposition clearly ignore section 42(2) and for almost nine months after, September 2011, this spurious Speaker presented a document purported to be a legal opinion of Dr. Francis Alexis from Grenada. Under what jurisdiction does this spurious Speaker get that authority? The Leader of the Opposition announced that he would respond to it. Almost four years hence (subject to correction) there has been no response from the Leader of the Opposition. It does appear that they have taken the Speaker’s ruling as though it were John: 3-16. In the meantime, they continue to be treated with contempt to the point of being thrown out of the House, many of them suffering injuries as a result.
- Alan Alexander, the son of this spurious Speaker, as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, committed an indictable offence. All that was done was to transfer him to a statutory body. That too, the Opposition has handled with kids gloves.
- Former Registrar of the High Court, Tamara Gibson-Marks, who is the wife of former ULP Senator Ronald Marks, in October 2014 was fined only EC$10,500 for allegedly stealing over EC$300,000 of which she paid back EC$300,000. Mrs. Marks is also a creature of PM Gonsalves. When the news broke, it is reported that he said: “The NDP wouldn’t know how to deal with that”. So said so done.
Lawlessness and vulgarity galore
One does not have to leave home to know how lawless SVG has become. The loud, lewd disco sounds are blaring at you almost 24-7, in the vans, in the cars, in the bars and on the sidewalks. You walk the streets and the expletives that emanate from all sides are like a tonne of bricks come tumbling down. Kingstown does not have a sidewalk anymore, everywhere there is a boutique, a grocery stall, a vegetable stall or a barbecue grill and if you are fortunate to escape all of this obstruction, a “five-tonne body woman” is sure to knock you off the pavement to see how skilfully you can negotiate between the moving vehicles. Within recent times, the area of the Cooperative Gas Station at the area of the Hospital, has taken the cake. On the entrance to the road to Edinboro, vehicles are parked on either side. It is a common site on evenings to see as many as six to eight motorcycles with no less than about three or four barbecue grills. After a long wait, as you finally make your way through, you can feel the direct heat from the barbecue grills hitting you in your face. To walk under the galleries is a no-no. What is even more ridiculous, at any event at Victoria Park, vendors are seen operating barbecue grills leaning on the side of the hospital building. Look for the worst to happen anytime.
One may argue that times are hard and one needs to survive. If that is the answer to this lawlessness, then it’s safe to kill a fly on a windowpane with a sledgehammer.
The roads, not wanting to be outdone, show their vulgarity by their very appearance. They make every motorist angry and some motorists no longer describe them as roads with potholes but as potholes with roads. To add insult to injury, the attitude displayed by some of our motorists to say the least, is extremely vulgar.
SVG yearns for a new direction. It yearns for new leadership. SVG I’m grieving. SVG I’m moaning. SVG I’m sorry.
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].