Current Affairs

Current Affairs



Harry Douglas appeals for decency, integrity
Observer Reporter
Friday, July 09, 2004

HARRY Douglas, the minister of state for water and housing, on Wednesday diverted attention from controversial domestic water issues in the House of Representatives to call for a stand for decency and integrity.

In a passionate plea at the end of his contribution to the sectoral debate, Douglas said the moral fibre of the society was under serious threat, "and we need to take a stand for decency and integrity".

Said the junior minister: "I am greatly disappointed with the coarseness and callousness with which our youths are treating their peers, in some cases, and elders, in general.

"Institutions of learning and the teachers who impart knowledge are treated with disdain and scant regard. Many youths fear neither man nor God. I am disgusted with the vulgarity in our popular music and the high dosage of nudity 24 hours per day in cable television," he told parliamentarians.

"The fear of God, whomever you perceive him to be, is no more with us in our predominantly Christian culture. This is spelling doom unless we reverse the trend," he added.

Douglas said that the Government had provided opportunities for higher education and called on the youth to "wake up and smell the coffee" and empower themselves with a skill.

The junior minister also lashed out at the bad habits of some motorists and the "serious deterioration in driving habits" which was resulting in mayhem on the roads.

"If we get back to the basic of patience and respect for each other, we would have avoided many of these serious accidents," he pleaded.

At the same time, Douglas suggested that the House of Representatives pass legislation mandating that 10 per cent of the annual budget, or approximately $230 million per MP, be spent in political constituencies annually on development projects directed by the Members of Parliament.

"We, as members of parliament, are willing to subject ourselves to the most rigorous checks and balances and be accountable to the Auditor General in respect of these disbursements," he said.

He said that the fiscal year 2004-2005 should be highlighted by a drive to empower the elected representatives to bring relief to their constituents.

But, he had a word of warning for the MPs too.

"I believe that since the elections of 1944, at different times and under varying circumstances, we destroy ourselves for political office. The bitterness continues even after we have been elected. We say the most vicious and vulgar things about each other. We build vengeance and hatred among our supporters and even sometimes within the same party.
Let us clean up our act and act with decency and humility towards our brothers and sisters regardless of our politics or religion," he said.

People's National Party

89 Old Hope Road

Kingston 6, Jamaica W.I.