Letters

The PM’s dismissive tone on travel perks

Dear Editor,

Last week, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis was flat out dismissive when a reporter asked him about the Cabinet’s decision to increase travel perks for ministers and their spouses.

“You worried about $100?” Minnis said. “Next question.”

It goes without saying that $100 of taxpayers’ money is more than enough for us to make noise about.

The perks associated with the prime minister’s income and office alone erect a wall between himself and working class men and women since he does not have to worry about the protections out of reach to the rest of us.

The pleas of poorly paid teachers, nurses and other public servants have been a recurring staple in election campaigns, but successive administrations have not addressed them once elected.

For instance, take into account teachers who are known to spend the little they are paid on government classrooms, and are evaluated for instructional aids the government fails to provide. Are teachers even entitled to be as equally distressed as the prime minister? Are our grievances even valid?

But apart from this comparison, it is difficult for a poor man or those on minimum wage to wrap their heads around the thought of a $100 travel increase, and a plea of poverty from men and women who defend public debt, yet are chauffeured around day and night, refusing to use their own personal vehicles and fuel.

We have a group of men and women who go into their constituencies and play the role of the “elected hero” out to save the people from their long-term neglect and suffering yet have refused to sign their John Henry in disagreement at the VAT-hike out of fear of losing their ministerial posts.

And fair enough, I am sure there is a reasonable possibility most of us would do the same if we were in their position because, let’s face it, like them, we also seek the security of owning a home, a car and not having to worry about where the next meal is going to come from.

However, the general takeaway here is that we as a people are innocently drawn into the ruse that the people whose dreams we make come true the minute we arrive at the polls know our sufferings or have any respect for the value of $100, when to most of them, politics is another small asset to their already extensive fortune — a hobby.

In simpler terms, each of our human experience is defined mainly by our income, our accessibility to food, clothes.

The value of money and what it represents varies to each of us based on our position on the social ladder, and for those of us at the bottom or near-bottom, variables out of our control (such as race, physical/mental capabilities right down to the management of our economy) make it impossible to simply accept “working hard” as a way out of poverty.

In this way, it is fair to say, the prime minister’s impulsivity failed to take these things into account, and his comments act as another nail in the party’s casket.

 

– Glenn King

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