THE EDITOR: I refer to the adverse comments on the Prime Minister’s humanitarian gesture with respect to Dominicans who can find accommodation in TT with friends and relatives following the devastating hurricane that ravaged their country.
In this regard, I was appalled to hear (on IETV’s 6.30 pm newscast on September 27) one of our so-called leading intellectuals offer the explanation that the negative reaction in some quarters to the Prime Minister’s gesture was due to the profound disappointment emanating from his several unfulfilled promises, including his failure to deal effectively with corruption.
What utter rubbish. Are we mature adults or do we have bird brains in our skulls? My apologies to the birds.
Sometimes I wonder whether or not we can trust our intellectuals to give us sound advice on those matters that fall squarely within their expert knowledge, training, experience etc — expertise that the ordinary citizen does not possess.
Are we so heartless and immature that we are willing to punish our Caribbean brothers and sisters in their hour of need, simply to spite our Prime Minister? There can be no justification for such heinous comments.
When some of our high-profile citizens make comments that are racist, xenophobic, inhumane and, indeed, asinine, then the rest of the world may perceive us to be barbarians, notwithstanding that they do not speak for most of us. They certainly do not speak for me. It is therefore our duty to disassociate ourselves from such invidious comments at the earliest opportunity.
Additionally, as a country that acknowledges the supremacy of God, we must accept that there is a spiritual dimension to everything and, perhaps, that our response to this disaster will help to determine our fate in the future. Political parties, political leaders and politicians, as representatives of our people, ought to communicate to the nation, in a timely manner, their robust denunciation of such despicable comments.
Silence is not an option. Silence may be viewed as tacit support for such warped opinions. For obvious reasons, when such people/organisations remain silent that should set off alarm bells and an alert and responsible news media should ask them for an explanation.
It is pellucidly clear, therefore, that the naysayers are abusing the right to free speech in a most reprehensible manner. Free speech must be guarded jealously and like every right must be used responsibly. It is not a licence to infringe upon the rights of others and, therefore, for people to say whatever they want regardless of the consequences.
Moreover, are we so arrogant, reckless and foolish regarding the importance of the Caricom market to our well-being?
In these circumstances, I agree with the Prime Minister that, in the national interest, the naysayers should shut their mouths on this matter and allow the country to strive. In this connection, the Prime Minister’s remarks were not tactless, disrespectful or unbecoming of a Prime Minister, as the situation demanded the use of very strong language in the defence of the nation’s honour and reputation. The naysayers have given me cause to weep for my country. May God forgive us and have mercy on our souls.
LOUIS WINSTON WILLIAMS, St Augustine