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Letter to the Editor: Accountability breeds response-ability

Recently, news broke about controversies surrounding the purchase of Chalk Sound Police Station and the alleged gift of land in Leeward valued at nearly 3 million to a close friend and advisor of a former premier and deputy premier.

These issues are making people question the honesty of politician a particular politician, adding to his already complicated story.

That former deputy premier, as the minister in charge of immigration, was involved in a certain female becoming an immigration official. He did this without telling Cabinet about their close personal relationship. Yet another revelation questions that politician's current publicity stunt for openness in governance.

It underscores a recurring discrepancy between his public commitments to integrity and his actions while in power. The former politician wants to cherry-pick which Cabinet's meeting minutes should be made public. However, don't expect him to ask for the minutes about the female's appointment.

Let's break this down: Imagine playing a team sport where one player has a secret advantage. That's the field that politician played on, where fairness was sidelined. This isn't just about an undisclosed relationship; it's about the integrity of the game itself. The famale's appointment might be in the past, but the shadows cast by that decision linger. It's a classic tale of "do as I say, not as I do," undermining the very fabric of the transparency that the said politician now campaigns for.

But why should we care about a decision made years ago? This decision is especially relevant when the players involved have moved on. History has a way of mirroring the present, though. That politician's silence in 2017 sharply contrasts with his vocal advocacy for transparency now. It highlights a disconnect that voters can't ignore. It's a reminder that integrity's roots run deep. When they're compromised, the damage isn't easily forgotten.

This revelation isn't just an ethics lesson. It's a call to action. The politician's credibility depends on more than just his words. It also hinges on his actions. This episode, while not isolated, clearly illustrates how ethical breaches can undermine the effectiveness of governance, leading to a substantial decline in public trust and an increase in suspicion towards political processes.

The politician's advocacy for transparency begins with his transparency. It's about living the values he espouses, demonstrating through his actions that he's committed to fairness and integrity.

The discussion surrounding the politician and his female acquaintance  isn't a mere political dispute. It's a litmus test for accountability. The impact of this breach on public trust and governance effectiveness underscores the importance of addressing such ethical lapses when they occur.

The politician’s hypocrisy is an opportunity for reflection and, more importantly, for demonstrating a genuine commitment to ethical governance. His path forward requires him to acknowledge past missteps and make a clear, demonstrable shift toward the principles he now advocates for.

The politician’s current publicity stunt for transparency presents a contradiction that was all too common in his administration. The direct consequences of his past actions—specifically the eroded public trust and the questioning of governance integrity—highlight the critical need for him to not only talk the talk but walk the walk. It reminds us that trust is built on consistent, ethical behaviour, not just demanding it from others.

I am James G. Smith,



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