EDITORIAL: Our ‘committee’ conundrum

- Advertisement -

It is truly baffling to us how certain things that one would think are fairly straight-forward, can become ever so complicated and bogged-down in red-tape, a collective lack of will and the ‘committee’ charade.  The committee charade is the pretense to be doing something about a problem by boldly proclaiming to the public that “We are forming a committee . . .” Of course, the proclamation that a committee is being formed is supposed to be the panacea for all that ails the public; it is designed to placate John Public and silence the cries for something to be done about the problem (s). It is an exceedingly cynical response, because in truth and in fact, those who declare that “We are forming a committee,” have little or no intention of addressing the problem.
Here in our fair land, we have become jaded citizens – a disillusioned body politic because we have grown accustomed to hearing that This Committee or That Committee is looking into the matter, and we wait and wait with the vain hope that we will see or hear some forward movement on the problem. Needless to say, the wait is akin to ‘watching paint dry or grass grow – inexorably long and slow.
We here at Observer media wonder why that is so often the case, and we can dig into our archives for dozens, nay, hundreds of cases where do-nothing committees were formed as a sop to the public here in Antigua and Barbuda. We particularly like that word, “sop.” It is, “A thing of no great value given or done as a concession to appease someone whose main concerns or demands are not being met.”  Sigh! How oft have we been fed the sop? Too often, if you ask us!
Consider. In the wake of the recent withdrawal of the case against the police prosecutor charged with rape and kidnapping, there was a public outcry, because in the minds of many, (perception), “Justice was not seen to have been done.” Anyway, after the outcry, Cabinet decided to form a three-member committee to look into ways to prevent a repeat of what many persons considered to have been a miscarriage of justice. To that end, Minister of State in Legal Affairs, Immigration and Labour, Maria Bird-Browne (learned in law and psychology), Minister of Social Transformation, Gender and Youth Affairs, Samantha Marshall (attorney at law), and Attorney General, and Minister of Legal Affairs, Steadroy ”Cutie” Benjamin were tabbed to remedy this type of troubling outcome in the pursuit of justice. The main issues that this committee would be addressing were, “How to deal with a hostile witness,” and “If a complainant who is a minor (a person under the age of 18) can refuse to testify.” All well and good!
We certainly extend every good wish to this distinguished panel of young (Bird-Browne and Marshall) and experienced (Benjamin) legal minds, and we trust that they will act with some dispatch in formulating and recommending a solution to this vexing problem. Today is the United Nations declared, International Day of the Girl Child, and we quote and concur with the U.N. Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, when he exhorts, “Let us recommit to supporting every girl develop her skills . . . and reach her full potential.” We suggest that if the committee has not yet begun its work on this most important problem, today is a good day to begin. It will herald our commitment to our girls and those who have been preyed upon. After all, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Do not procrastinate! Act as a matter of urgency! Do not conduct yourselves in the trifling manner in which many of our much-ballyhooed committees have conducted themselves in the past, to wit, with much sound and fury, yet producing nothing in real terms! Here’s hoping that this committee will pleasantly surprise us!
We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.    

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

3 × 1 =