Letters & Opinion

Minister’s Wings Clipped

By James Edwin

Some weeks ago a board member at the housing authority was dismissed under some unusual formalities.  This dismissal apparently caused some concern within the hierarchy of the current administration but to avoid any ill feelings, the dismissal of the officer took precedence over the concerns of the hierarchy. 

Most recently, another situation at the said ministry arose and it focused on a more senior appointee of the housing board.  The dismissal letter followed the pattern of the earlier dismissal but on this occasion, for some reason or another, the dismissal notice failed to reach the appointee in question, consequently, the actual dismissal was not affected.

As a result of the delay, the hierarchy of the current administration was alerted and a stop order was placed on the dismissal notice.  This resulted in serious differences between the hierarchy and the minister in question based on the repetitive nature of dismissals at that ministry.  The hierarchy remains concerned over the spate of events as this is an area the current Prime Minister promised not to embark upon.  Unfortunately, when certain individuals are brought in through the back door of any given party, they tend to disregard the views of the boss. This situation does not augur well for any political party experiencing this behaviour.  This is indeed sad as the anger and hatred cultivated prior to the general elections sometimes lingers on unnecessarily and can cast an image some politicians consider unfortunate.

These images if not nipped at the bud can cause undue damage to the party but even more importantly, can lead to serious misunderstandings.  The SLP already has its fair share of confusion to address without adding any more unnecessary baggage as the Covid situation alone is sufficient headache for any administration without manmade errors entering a packed arena.

In relation to Omicron, it is factual that the variant is several times more transmissible than the former variants but simultaneously it is not as severe.  Based on this information, government has to take into consideration lives and livelihoods as Covid will be around for quite a while.  The latest decision to deny entry of three cruise lines a couple of days ago may not have been the wisest decision as there are other ways and means of working with the cruise lines as far as segregation is concerned.

Secondly, once the cruise ship berths alongside whether the passengers disembark or not, a fee of US$5.00 per head has to be paid to SLASPA, therefore, this is a significant amount to be denied.  In the case of the three ships turned away the calculated loss to SLASPA in one day was in the vicinity of US $30,000 at a time when government revenues remain at an all time low hence the reasons for making the wisest decision.

Thirdly the cruise lines have been under severe pressure like all others involved in the hospitality industry and turning the vessels away during this period may be viewed differently for one reason or another and when the situation does return to normality, who knows which islands will benefit from being conciliatory when understandings should have prevailed.

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