Ease us up

Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection Dr Faith BYisrael. Photo by David Reid
Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection Dr Faith BYisrael. Photo by David Reid

DR FAITH BYISRAEL did the right thing in issuing an apology on Monday for admonishing people for calling her too early in the mornings and at weekends.

“Allyuh ease me up with the 6 am calls or Saturdays and Sundays please,” she had petulantly written on Facebook on Saturday, after receiving early-morning calls that day. “I'm begging!”

Days later, after a predictable backlash, Dr BYisrael was chastened and contrite.

“I think at that point, I was a little hurt, I was also very tired and a bit frustrated,” she said on Monday, explaining there was a specific background, history and context to the post. “We are all human beings and we have these feelings, we have all of these emotions, we have all of these expressions and it is what it is. So I sincerely apologise.”

What made the initial rant particularly off-key was that the portfolio Dr BYisrael currently holds is one that would appear to require her to be on call 24/7. Anyone who serves as the THA Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection should expect some early-morning calls.

But too often it is the case that the public has a perception that political figures approach their functions with an attitude that does not befit the notion of public service.

Admittedly, some members of the public simply have no manners. But sometimes, politicians act as though they are doing us a favour simply by doing their job.

Recently, a similar complaint about early-morning activities was made by Minister in the Ministry of Education and D’Abadie/O’Meara MP Lisa Morris-Julian. She was forced to clarify the context of one of her Facebook posts about people messaging her at 4 am with seemingly nonsensical queries about whether to take their children to school, given incessant rain and flooding and the possibility of schools being closed.

“You are big and you have sense,” the MP said. “Me to all who messaging me since 4 am: Make sensible decisions aka the best decision for you and yours.”

We appreciate the fact that public service is onerous. Some people also approach politicians as though their private grouses and complaints should be matters of the highest national importance.

But leaders have to balance the interests of all.

And if public officials are under pressure these days, imagine what ordinary citizens are feeling. Imagine the pressures of not having a job, or not knowing how to put food on the table, or not being able to balance the books and pay your workers this Christmas.

Nobody begrudges our leaders their right to a decent night’s sleep. But if they do not yet understand the gravity of the positions they hold, then it is time to either wake up and smell the coffee or hang up on the job.

In the meanwhile, ease us all up on the unbecoming Facebook rants.


"Ease us up"

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