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One of our colonial legacies is our parliamentary system and there’s a lot to be proud of it. Unfortunately, we also imported some of the less interesting elements of Britain’s House of Commons, including the boisterous behaviour of MPs during debates.
The private schoolboy behaviour may make good television—and amusing newspaper reporting—but it does nothing when it comes to improving the way the country is run. Even less so when the country faces such a difficult time and following a fractious budget.
The behaviour of some of the most senior Government ministers during the Opposition Leader’s Budget response on Friday was childish at best, requiring the Speaker to send some of them ‘for a walk’, just like primary school teachers may need to get a child out of the class when being naughty.
Perhaps in the bubble politicians live, issues like tax rises, high levels of deficit and public debt, fuel hikes, recession and an ongoing foreign exchange crunch may feel like perfect subjects for jokes and bad behaviour in parliament. For us, poor mortals, they don’t.
The Minister of Finance called his Budget ‘Changing the Paradigm’. One change we would all welcome, from both sides of the house, is a more grown up behaviour not only to help fix the economy, but all the critical problems this country faces.
To be blunt, MPs, we deserve more respect.
We need to look carefully at what is happening with our young people’s health.
It was troubling to see that, last week, a number of secondary school children had blood pressure levels high enough to prompt Ministry of Health officials, who took pressure tests as part of a new campaign launched by the ministry, to send them to hospital for further checks.
Unless the initial assessments were wrong, just the thought that hypertension is increasingly affecting teenagers in our country is very worrying. This must be checked and urgently.
Beyond the personal tragedy of our children facing a lifetime of illness (with the additional burden to the health system that brings with it), the nation may also risk joining countries like Russia, currently heading in the wrong direction as far as life expectancy is concerned.
Best of luck to all the children who are running today at the RBC’s Race for Kids, in aid of the bank’s Caribbean Children’s Cancer Fund. It will never feel right to see a child diagnosed with cancer—or any other life-threatening disease—but it is essential that help is there when needed.
RBC’s run comes just a week after Scotiabank’s Women Against Breast Cancer race, another great and inspiring event to increase awareness of cancer prevention and raise funds to help those in need.
These events, together with many others, large and small, not only help raise much needed fund but also bring us closer together by campaigning for good causes and fighting this much feared disease.
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