Questions parties need to answer
The election campaign is now in full swing and during this weekend ,we shall see the beginning of the home stretch. Analysis of the manifestoes will be in full swing with both major parties pushing their respective proposals and arguing against those of their opponents. Among it all, there are some aspects which any student of politics will find of interest.
There are several new candidates when one looks at the composition of both the main parties, and there are several what might be called second generation politicians who have come forward to offer their service as parliamentarians, following in the footsteps of an uncle, in one case, and parents in another.
It is refreshing that some children should wish to follow in the footsteps of parents or relatives. Far too often we hear that politics is a nasty business and in many cases some who would offer themselves as servants of the people are dissuaded from so doing because of the tales of how nasty the game is, and how one must sell one’s soul to be a success as a politician.
We are happy to see these second generation politicians who have not been put off by the tales about how sordid a business politics is.
That there is a record number of women augurs well for the future. No country can afford to have its women refusing to come forward or worse, being prevented from coming forward to offer themselves for public elective service. We are particularly pleased to see so many capable, intelligent young women in the fray. Our Parliament and nation will benefit from their wisdom and practicality, even if all of them are not elected.
It is also very pleasing to note that tolerance between the protagonists for office and their supporters is so engrained that we have not had any untoward incidents, apart from the few isolated acts of tearing down a poster here and there.
But there are yet some unanswered questions which we feel must be addressed by both parties and answers given before the polling day. Both parties need to tell us how they are going to deal with the situation disclosed by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler who told us last year that he was borrowing millions per month to pay wages of some public servants.
This issue is so important that it has to be faced in the near future, and the voting public will need answers now.
Another burning question which will have to be faced by both parties is what level of foreign reserves will both sides consider adequate for our needs. It seems to be agreed on both sides that our current level of reserves, though half of what they were five years ago, are beyond the safety barrier as indicated by international standards.
We need to have informed discussion and opinion on this matter too, because the threat to the reserves has been advanced by the Government minister as a reason for not attempting the kind of stimulus which the Opposition is talking about.
We regard these as two of the more important issues because whoever succeeds will face these and a host of other issues on Friday, February 22; and it is of public interest that their views be canvassed, analysed and examined by the voters whose interests will be on the line after the poll.
This is an important election, as indeed all elections are; but the issues are so sharply defined that the interest of democracy demands that we must have clear answers to some if not all of the more troublesome issues.