Opinion: “No comment”

POSTED: 09/5/11 12:53 PM

The daily bread of local politicians is “no comment” as soon as something comes up that requires them to take a position on a sensitive issue, or to clarify their own position. It is a cultural thing, we suppose, and we’ll have to live with it. But we don’t have to like it.
The latest example is National Alliance MP Frans Richardson. We reported, based on solid sources that Richardson will soon declare himself an independent member of parliament and that he will leave the opposition and that he will become a supporter of the government UP/DP-coalition.
There are three possibilities, and we’ll list them in order of probability:

One: it is true.
Two: it is under consideration (Mr. Richardson still has to take a decision).
Three: it is not true.

We read somewhere a story where our report was downgraded to jumping ship rumors – the way hurricanes are downgraded to tropical storms and then to tropical depressions.
Richardson declined to comment – in other words, he declined to provide clarity to voters about his position. And yet, as we have pointed out there are only three possible answers. Simplified, it was a yes or no question: are you going over to the other side, or are you not? Voters like to know this stuff.
Imagine all these voters who put their confidence in Richardson as one of the high profile politicians in the opposition benches. Okay, many voters thought in September that the National Alliance was about to cruise into power. The party won the elections, and then lost the formation to the UP/DP-tandem. Richardson did not become a minister; he became a member of the opposition.
Would these voters expect him now to leave his party and to join two other parties plus independent MP Patrick Illidge? After all, the 695 Richardson-voters did not vote for the United People’s Party or for the Democratic Party. They voted against those parties and for Richardson. And now they may find their candidate in bed, politically speaking, with an alliance that was definitely not their choice.
Don’t these voters have a right to know what is what? Surely, politicians are fully entitled to take their own decisions, but how is it possible to have no comment on such a crucial issue?
It makes us think of December when there was no politician to be found – with the exception of National Alliance leader William Marlin – who had the guts to make a public statement about the embattled Public Health Minister Maria Buncamper-Molanus.
In that case there was rock solid proof that the Minister and her husband had fiddled with government-owned leased land, with a bogus company and with $3 million.
In the Richardson-case, the circumstances are a bit more obscure, though the information we have suggests strongly that the MPs transition to the state of independence is linked to a business license for the defunct Dolphin Casino. Tit for tat.
True or false? Richardson declines to comment and that attitude obviously strengthens the impression that something is not quite above board.
So far, our report has not been dismissed as untrue and until the MP makes his position clear, his voters who put their confidence in Richardson will just have to wait and see what will happen next.

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