TOO often in this column, we lift our pen to criticise – with justification – many of those who fill our political landscape today.
Too often, there are stunts being carried out for attention, or a failure to fulfil even the most basic functions of governance.
To pick one, let’s look at the PLP, whose MPs seem to pop up at the drop of a hat and march themselves out of Parliament, often enough that we’ve previously suggested fitting a revolving door on the building for them.
Or another – how about the failure of the FNM government to table Heads of Agreements in a timely manner, or the environmental impact assessments to go with them?
Let’s look at the Public Accounts Committee, which has singularly failed to hold anything to account for more than one government’s term and which seems mired in political gamesmanship rather than any real desire to find ways to improve our nation.
Pick your own unresolved matter – be it questions over letters of intent, a Prime Minister who fails to live up to his promises on quarterly press briefings, an Opposition leader who shrugs his shoulders and says it was nothing to do with him when unfavourable subjects crop up about the government in which he served as Deputy Prime Minister. You’ll have your own topic of choice, we’re sure.
This is the country we live in – but turn to page 12 today and you’ll find the story of one of the men who helped build the nation to give us the opportunity to strive to be better than we are.
It is now 50 years since Donald Bruce McKinney CBE was lost at sea, a man who stood for equal rights in our country.
It is easy to run with the crowd, to do what suits your friends and your party, to go along to get along. It is hard to take a stand, but it is those who take a stand who make the most difference.
Mr McKinney said it well when he stood alongside Sir Etienne Dupuch in the House of Assembly in 1956 and spoke out in favour of equality: “It is wrong that a man who is willing to die for his country should be discriminated in the very country for which he is prepared to die. It is wrong, Mr Speaker. It is wrong.”
How many of our modern politicians can you say with complete certainty will speak out when they see something is wrong? Not asking whose party a thing will benefit, not asking if it will favour friends, family or lovers?
How many could learn something from the bravery of Donald McKinney?
His strength helped to change our nation for the better. He helped to bring down the barriers that kept our people divided.
We hope our leaders – and our future leaders – read his story today and consider what it took for him to stand up to his peers and say “No”.
Our nation must have leaders who do not seek advantage for themselves, but rather a benefit for all. That is a legacy that Mr McKinney would deserve.