In a recent interview with Karl Samuda and Omar Davies about the behaviour in Parliament, they both indicated that it was generally accepted that the conduct over the past few years had crossed the line. At the same time, Mr. Samuda said that they didn’t want Parliament to sound like church, a sentiment Dr. Davies agreed with. I have to join them in that. (Let’s not get caught up in the church analogy, they meant that Gordon House should continue to be a lively and dynamic forum.)
The backlash against the vulgar outbursts in Parliament and crassness on the political platforms has resulted in some expecting the Parliamentarians to sit as docile and demure as school children under the watchful eye of a stern teacher. I got a call yesterday, for example, from someone complaining that government MPs were “heckling” the Opposition Leader during his speech. It seems to me if you are addressing the Parliament and suggest that your time on the Opposition benches will be brief, expecting the government MPs to sit on their hands and be silent is asking a bit much. In addition, I don’t want to see us lose the colour and vitality that are evident wherever Jamaicans gather. So I was a bit taken aback, for example, at the negative reaction to Bobby Montague’s references to programmes called Audi and Prado or whatever, given that he was on the party platform and clearly jokingly making fun of the PNP’s JEEP.
We need to strike a balance….wit, hilarious one-liners, ( RIP Danny Buch.), cut and thrust of debate and sharp, even brilliant ripostes on the one hand, but civility on the other. We can do it.