Editorial: Extreme vetting

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Forgive us for using a term arguably coined by President Donald Trump when he suggested during the 2016 election that under his administration, Syrian refugees would be subject to what he called ‘extreme vetting.’ Trump was of the view that the lax and overly-welcoming policy of the European Union would be a Trojan Horse of sorts that would not only lead to a dangerous and irrevocable change in the culture, traditions and character of Europe, and lead to the destruction of Europe as we know it from within, but it could also be ground zero for terrorists who would use their new status as a spring- board for their nebulous  cause and nefarious activity.
Trump’s thinking on the matter was that the candidates seeking asylum from the Syrian conflict in Europe of necessity had to be subject to the most rigorous background checks before being admitted to Europe. To that end, Trump imposed a controversial ban (the so-called Muslim travel ban) on persons travelling to the United States from Libya, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia. Now while  he has been roundly criticised in many circles, for his insensitivity and seeming lack of what many have called, “that milk of human kindness,” there can be no gainsaying the fact that we need our own version of  ‘extreme vetting’ of the political candidates who have thrown their hats into the ring for the upcoming elections.
Of course, notwithstanding the call by a few in some circles for the candidates to be lettered and learned, we here at OBSERVER media beg to differ. For one thing, based on the performance of much of the so-called intelligentsia and cognoscenti over the many years, we are not convinced that those with letters behind their names were able to produce results that were stratospheric and astonishingly superior to the efforts of the less-schooled. Nay, with some exceptions, the results were mixed at best. This is not to discount or diminish in any way, the critical role of a good and proper education in our society and among those who serve. (See the sterling legacy of Dr. Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as that of the father and son duo, Norman and Michael Manley of Jamaica).
Having said that however, there can be no denying the fact that the unschooled and the unlettered have also been able to distinguish themselves in the political realm in service to their countries. (See Sir Alexander Bustamente and our very own Sir Vere Bird) Seems that more than the technical and scholarly and theoretical aspect of high political office, is the grand and overarching vision of what our aspiring leaders have in mind for our country. Those leaders must possess the ability to pick a quality team to execute the nuts and bolts of the grand vision, and he or she must be imbued with the ability to articulate that vision,
sell it to a cynical and skeptical public, and get the public to buy into it. Seems that charisma is a prerequisite to winning the hearts and minds of the public, not wads of cash to shamelessly buy votes. Those who wouldst fain lead us also ought to be men and women of integrity, humility, good judgement and a healthy relationship with this little thing called Truth. Not only should they have a proven track record of getting things done, but they should be men and women not given to ‘flights of fancy’ and ‘pies in the sky’. We also posit that they be men and women possessed of a terrific sense of humour; that is, they do not take themselves too seriously!
The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party has postponed its rollout of candidates until next year in order to “re-examine more candidates”. All well and good! We trust that the United Progressive Party and the Democratic National Alliance have done all their homework, and are confident and satisfied with their slate of candidates. Meanwhile, if any of the declared United Progressive Party, Democratic National Alliance and Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party candidates are entering the fray for any other reason than for ‘God and country’, we strongly suggest that they recuse themselves forthwith from the fray. They owe it to the voters! They also owe it to themselves!  Think Polonius’ sage words to Laertes, “This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day. Thou canst not then be false to any man.” And we the voters certainly owe it to ourselves to do our ‘due diligence’. The fate of our fair Antigua depends on it! 
We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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