ALL AH WE IS ONE: In poor taste
By Tennyson Joseph | Tue, June 26, 2012 - 12:00 AM
It is widely accepted that over the years the tourism industry has evolved to become the “spoilt child” of Caribbean economies.
Everything – from special concessions to facilitate hotel construction and décor material, to tax-funded airline seats and marketing campaigns, to the blind eye turned on the high level of importation of foreign products at the expense of local production, to special VAT rates – point to examples of the historical pampering of tourism.
All of this is sustained by the propagandist claim that “tourism is everybody’s business”.
It is this false pedestal upon which tourism has been placed, which might explain the tone of self-righteous entitlement adopted by sections of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), in publicly complaining about their lack of success in securing a pending and promised meeting with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to discuss the challenges currently confronting the tourism sector.
Whatever the explanation for their stance, it is beyond doubt that the BHTA have diminished the aura and dignity of the Office of the Prime Minister, with their claims and counter-claims of having been “dissed” by their inability to pin down the Prime Minister to an agreed meeting within a satisfactory time frame.
Whilst the urgency of the hoteliers’ business is not being challenged, we may wish to consider whether the publicly stated insistence by the sector of meeting with the Prime Minister with urgency and under specific terms has not violated the boundaries of good taste and human decency.
To have criticized him for seeking to resolve the Garcia immigration issue was to adopt the stance of open political criticism.
It is significant that whilst the hoteliers have admitted to regular and frequent meetings with the Minister of Tourism, they have been unable to convincingly show how a meeting with the Prime Minister would qualitatively advance their specific causes beyond what has been achieved in their regular and routine ministerial encounters.
It is difficult to imagine the “atmosphere” which will surround the promised meeting. Certainly, no Prime Minister would like to feel that he is being held to ransom. Indeed, the detailed response by the Office of the Prime Minister in outlining both Stuart’s rationale for meeting with Garcia and the correspondence record between the office and the BHTA, suggest that the gauntlet has been thrown down.
A similar impression is conveyed by Senator Jepter Ince’s loud rebuttal of BHTA claims of neglect from the Senate floor.
Perhaps Prime Minister Stuart’s penchant for deliberation in the face of what appears to be urgent national concerns might have created a weakness now being leveraged by all and sundry wishing to press the Government.
Whilst others may have legitimate claims to injury, it is highly debatable whether the BHTA has a justifiable case for immediate and urgent access.
The dignity of the office, should be paramount.
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