Submitted by Charles Knighton
The Advocate’s editorial of December 10th, “Rewarding bad behaviour?” makes the undeniable point that children will “….not learn half as much about values in school or a media campaign as they will from observing us, their elders.” Following such logic, and viewing the population of Barbados as one large extended family, one could argue that citizens draw value lessons from their leaders in government.
You rightly cite the Westbury cemetery imbroglio where the SSA has rewarded grave diggers who defrauded their employers, as well as the young mother who parlayed the crime of housebreaking into a NHC unit to the detriment of those following proper protocol. You have drawn the proper conclusion in both instances, that doing the wrong things can get you what you want. But what of doing the right thing?
Those bumped down the NHC waiting list for this housebreaker, who put their faith in government’s promise of a level playing field if they followed the proper procedures, now join Al Barrack in the hospice of the disillusioned, where the shattered values of honesty, of playing by the rules and of faith in the system go to recover or to die.
Sir Roy Trotman recently noted “..a rejection of values that are now bringing us to a stage where to be good is to be wrong, where to be honest is to laughable.” In rewarding miscreants while eschewing the legally entitled, government nurtures such a state of affairs. If Sir Roy is correct in his observation, Barbados may be teetering on the abyss, for the darkest despair that can take hold of any society is the fear that living honestly is futile.