Columns

I don't buy the parliamentary apology

Mark Wignall

Thursday, July 12, 2012    

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FOLLOWING last week's reprehensible but unfortunately somewhat usual behaviour of some elected members in the House, we are led to believe that they have been visited by their collective consciences, or the leaders of both political parties have hauled them over the coals, behind closed doors, and they have apologised en masse.

Additionally, according to Nationwide News Network we have been led to believe that one of Parliament's newest representatives, Raymond Pryce, MP for North East St Elizabeth, somehow broke new ground in, of all things, oratory. In other words, the bright young man, known for having the skill for putting words together, in doing what he does best, that is, speaking the words that he is so skilled at stringing together, transformed Parliament in delivering his bit of oratory.

Please don't take my word for it, but when a misbehaving parliamentarian like MP for South West St Catherine Everard Warmington decided to join the pack of those "carrying the fool a little further" by apologising, it tells me that we the people are neither fish nor fowl. We are, in our development, probably less than a fungus in the forest.

Because we have had so few real successes in public life in this country, our media has adopted the style of going gaga over speeches as if we have conveniently forgotten that a speech is just words written on paper and skilfully (sometimes) read or presented.

Why should we take the apologies of certain members of the House as genuine when in our public life, there is no indication that there is anything tangible to support the hot air? Actually, I really don't have a big problem with spirited, heated and even explosive "debate" in our Parliament. Certainly we have seen examples of literal fights in places like the Japanese Diet (Parliament), but to me the essential difference between those sophisticated and developed countries and Jamaica is that our Parliament merely reflects and epitomises the normal thuggish behaviour of the rest of Jamaican society.

And now am I led to believe that when Raymond Pryce says, "I am honoured to be thought of as Christ-like. As the great song says, they will know we are Christians by our love. I have no hatred in me for any member of this honourable House," I should be moved to believe that Jamaica has had an epiphany moment?

When he intones, "Like Jonah, I having emerged from the belly of the whale, have deepened my adoration for our Lord God Almighty who has created each of us in his own image," should I be filled with hope that we have made a great leap into social development and shout, Amen Brother?

Where are we in this? Church or state?

We are frankly scared of calling a spade a spade. North West St Elizabeth MP, JC Hutchinson of the JLP had, in the heat of the parliamentary moment and in crosstalk with a PNP MP, implied that the MP was a "fish", in Jamaican terminology, a homosexual. Although MPs enjoy that thing called parliamentary privilege which means, as long as the House is in session, any MP can malign any other MP, or for that matter, any citizen of Jamaica anywhere.

It has been done before and the men maligned have had their lives destroyed because they have no recourse through the courts.

We expect that half-drunk men in bars or in little corners throughout will call others "b....man", but we never thought it was likely to happen in Parliament. I have no idea nor do I care what the sexual persuasion of the likes of Pryce, Warmington or JC Hutchinson may be. It could be that they are all "normal", as we would say, or maybe one or two may be not quite like the rest of us. To me that is immaterial.

Were we getting good representation and better government, it would not matter to me whether an MP is a fish, a flower or an exquisite dish. Were we to have roads that were free of potholes and a police control that responded speedily to 119 calls, it would take no skin off my bones were many of our MPs ex-members of JFLAG or attending Parliament as cross-dressers.

If our young school leavers were able to find jobs that could train them for better, more productive pursuits later on in life, I would gladly, but somewhat uneasily sit with male MPs, even if they wore stockings and greeted me with, "Hi, dahling Mawk, mi dear."

If this country were to experience seven per cent growth for the next five years, I would accept an invitation from "fishy" parliamentarians at a party where the highlight was male go-go dancers. I would have to take a woman with me though.

The point is, this whole kerfuffle in Parliament got the attention it did not because of the uproar - this nation has witnessed many of those before. It happened because of one JLP MP implying that he was not like the other PNP MP, that is, a "fish", a homosexual.

Seeing that the homosexual agenda has been on the socio-political front burner since last December, "the pot simply boiled over". It probably tells us who has and where the real power is in the country. That said, if it can lead to positive change, I am all for it. I am, however, not given over to cosmetics, and we have experienced tons of that smearing over us all, and unfortunately, our media are the biggest cheerleaders whenever the cosmetic train rolls out.

Warmington apologising?

Let me laugh for a while.

observemark@gmail.com

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