Who is responsible for this chaos? 

By TP Saran

We continue to be poorly represented. No wonder there is chaos which the people do not deserve! 

The editorial in last week’s edition of this paper ends with a question, ‘who is responsible for all this chaos?’ The subject of the editorial was the latest developments in the ongoing MedPoint affair, namely the reaction and remarks (about ICAC) by the President of the Republic following the arrest and interrogation of his son and leader of MSM Pravind Jugnauth, and the turning down of the latter’s request to obtain a copy of the minutes of Cabinet which he held would help him clear his name. For several months now the country has been force-fed in stages the details of this transaction, on which others have been grafted, providing grist to the mill of the clever political game being played by the Leader of the Opposition with the help of his independent friends, using the Mein Kampf technique of social terrorism. There is a general feeling that these are tough moments for the country, and the times call for serious debates and responsible decisions so that there is no slide towards instability, the last thing we need when the economy is also going through a difficult phase. This is no time to pass light judgement or to make snide remarks, but we cannot help illustrating the goings-on without this very apt gag which means what it means.  

Three people, an architect, a doctor and a politician were arguing about who God was. The architect said he must be an architect, because, he said, before creating anything, one must have a plan, and it is architects who make plans. The doctor did not agree. He said that since God made man out of woman’s rib, God must have been a doctor. But ah, said the politician, before all this Creation, what was there and who created that? His two companions looked at each other blankly, and the politician gave the answer: ‘Chaos!’ he exclaimed, ‘chaos! That’s what there was before the Creation, and it is politicians who create chaos!’ 

Spare us the thought that God is a politician, but we do not need to go very far to find the answer to the question in the editorial: it is politicians who are responsible for all this chaos surrounding the MedPoint affair, that is now expanding by ever greater leaps and bounds to other individuals, and giving rise to speculations and free-for-all comments by all and sundry. One must not forget that there are a million experts around in this country, who glibly give their weighty opinions on everything and anything, especially if the subject matter happens be outside their field. At the same time, though, we are not fools, and we know very well that this is taking place against a background of power struggle, but there are surely better, well-tested and more civilized and elegant ways of conducting this game in a country that prides itself to be a Mo-Ibrahim rated democracy? 

It would be easy to blame the media for giving such sustained visibility to the MedPoint affair, and to say that Berenger has an agenda. That has been only too clear from the very beginning. But what can he do when flanks are exposed for him to charge and others are not possessed of the same means, wiliness and logistic wherewithal to camouflage and to devise smart colourable modus operandi? 

Human greed on the part of a few – the same greed that international experts and analysts of all hues identified post facto as being responsible for the global financial meltdown in 2008 – stood revealed as the ICAC enquiry started to unravel the labyrinthine entanglement of the dark threads that make up the core of the affair. If only expectations had been reined in, the country’s precious energies and resources would not have been squandered uselessly all these months, especially when there are so many other pressing matters that need the better part of our attention given the uncertainties about our future. 

The latest spectacle in this saga was the confrontation a few days ago by two politicians, both ex-Ministers of Health under whose watch the MedPoint clinic sale was begun and concluded, on the waves of a private radio. It was truly pathetic to listen to them tearing at each other and mutually passing the buck. Claims of familiarity with procedures and rhetorical questions that were, presumably, meant to reveal analytical depth and subtlety of argumentation charged the attacks and counter-attacks with a degree of puerility that would be laughable if the matter at hand were not so serious for the country at large.

This begs the grave question of how policy decisions are arrived at. Are the institutional mechanisms that are available for tendering advice on sensitive and fundamental issues – identified after, we hope, genuine needs analyses — put to use? Or is the loud-mouthing about allowing institutions to do their work mere lip-service? 

Many a time in these columns we have drawn attention to, and lamented on the level of representation that we have in our institutions, and on the need both locally and internationally to make sure that those we send to represent the country must fulfil profiles that include, besides qualifications, maturity, breadth and depth of understanding, restraint with a certain firmness, and respectable presence topped with an ability to articulate coherently and in a dignified manner. Our words have fallen on deaf ears, and the consequences are exploding on the large screen. Enter Khamajeet. There are those, it seems, whose natural selves are erupting like ugly pimples, to the delight of the prowlers who feed themselves and their audiences on such lowly fare. It is all a question of level — and that too across the board, from top to bottom and sideways too – as a result of which we are spiralling ever downwards.  

All indications are that there is going to be no midcourse correction, and we shall be the worse off for our tendency to go for loud-mouthed, sycophantic populist support. Why do you send such poor specimens from your country? — had asked an eminent person once.  

We continue to be poorly represented. No wonder there is chaos which the people do not deserve! 

* Published in print edition on 30 September 2011

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