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Dictators v. Tribunes

LettersDictators v. Tribunes

by Hart Tillett

Mon. Apr. 15, 2024

Dear Editor

I’m enclosing this letter as my reflections on your very insightful editorial from last week.


An opposition seemingly unprepared to govern (Amandala, Friday 12th), was how your editorial comment described His Majesty’s loyal Opposition in the referenced issue. The opinion was given as one of three reasons for the recent sweep of municipal elections last March by the Blue, and was listed last—almost as an afterthought, in the marshalling.

Elsewhere in the same editorial you referred to the ministerial makeup in which all representatives are now Cabinet Ministers with only shades of influence to distinguish their power. The upshot, you averred, creates a farce, a mockery so to speak, of our parliamentary system presumably as ministers must show singlemindedness on ALL issues emanating from that body. Put another way, the result is a dictatorship of the Cabinet, and the decision of the Prime Minister in creating this novelty was a deliberate gesture. Not a happenstance, but a consequence.

A more serious kind of mockery or farce though, resides in your assertion, if true, that the Opposition isn’t ready. It is a more dire reality because the Opposition is the single most visible and effective check on a government’s inclination to abuse and totalitarianism: if there are no such braking mechanism as would result, say, from what you call an unprepared Opposition, then we must brace ourselves for what we saw playing out in the ranks of the Blue in the 80’s/90’s and amongst the Red in the present century when major players in the ranks became mavericks of the moment.

Such theatre in governance are happenstances, situations arising organically from structural weaknesses that are ignored and left to fester. Voters know the signals and take note. Mr. Price (RIP), was ready and armed for the conflicts, and gave no quarter to dissent until he became older and could not man the ramparts as before against the Brutuses of the Party. The Reds could and did rule as Unlimited Term tribunes, and it’s looking like the Blue are now onto their unpublished script, and making ready to ride this rare cusp of unchallenged autocracy bequeathed to them by an unprepared and therefore ineffectual Opposition.

Two burrs in our political hide: Cabinet Dictatorship and a wounded Opposition—neither of which bodes well as we gear up for 2025!

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