Opinion: Deadlines

POSTED: 05/26/14 3:10 PM

Politicians are not very good at deadlines. Sometimes they remind us of Greeks, of whom it is said that the only time they are in a hurry is when they are behind the wheel of a car. It is also said that Greeks will realize that they are going to hit a tree with their car, is in the split second before the impact. This, in short, is why some of our politicians remind us of the Greeks.

Remember the fuss in the Central Committee about the national ordinance on registration and finances of political parties? Some politicians would have you believe that this ordinance came out of the blue and that is was dumped on those poor Members of Parliament by evil forces in the Council of Ministers.

In reality, many of the politicians that now occupy a seat in Parliament were also members of the Island Council that approved said ordinance just before 10-10-10. Already then, we suspected that nobody had even looked at the legislation. Why bother? Together with a whole pack of legislation the ordinance that regulates life and death of political parties was approved without a single word of debate. Everybody seemed happy at that time, but the laughs have died down now that it dawns on our politicians what it actually is they approved.

This statement is obviously not valid for all Members of Parliament, just for some of them. It is nevertheless weird that people who have nothing else to do but read legislation (so that they know what they are talking about once they open their mouth) fail to grasp the implications and the consequences of legislation and how that could affect them in the future.

Now May 28 is rapidly approaching, the absolute deadline for political parties to apply for registration for the August 29 elections. Those who miss the boat will be left out in the cold come Election Day. In the unfortunate event that this indeed happens, we foresee a lot of mudslinging, a lot of pointing fingers (at the wrong people) and little to no awareness of personal responsibility.

So what will happen this week? Maybe parties who feel that they are going to be left on the outside will ask for an extension of the deadline. Maybe the Electoral Council will give it, or maybe the council will refer to the legislation that guides their actions and say, No Way, José.

Will we lose a lot if one or more parties fail to get their registration in order, thereby missing a shot at $125,000 a year jobs for each seat they could have won? We don’t think so. On the contrary, the country would be better off. Mind you, we do not have any particular party in mind here. We have no idea which parties have all their stuff in order and which parties are still feverishly working on some details. As far as we know now CPC (Citizens for Positive Change) is among the parties that are home free. The National Alliance held an urgent meeting last night, so it seems that this party still had some mopping up to do.

Should voters care about all this? Hell no. Failure to register on time is a good indication for the work ethics of a party and at least for their ability to meet deadlines. As we remarked before, politicians are not very good at this. The fact that the Electoral Council had to send out an urgent reminder “to all parties that have not registered yet to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections” is a bad omen.

The release shows that several parties have not even applied to be registered. It is a kind gesture of the Electoral Council to send out a reminder, but honestly, should grown-up politicians who are supposed to govern the country, not take care of business without it? Is this arrogance, ignorance, incompetence or just utter laziness?

George Pantophlet likes to say that Parliament is the highest authority in the country. That statement alone gives an insight in how wrong politicians can be and how much they want to believe their own fairy tales. The highest authority in the country is not the Parliament, but the Constitutional Court – other institution politicians have established with their eyes closed. This is something to be thankful for by the way, because the Constitutional Court protects citizens against foolish and unconstitutional legislation.

As May 28 approaches – yes, that is the day after tomorrow – the political landscape for the upcoming elections will take shape. For all you know, the first losers will already be on the books on Wednesday – and they will have nobody to blame for it but themselves.


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