There is an established two-party system in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The majority of the electorate aligns themselves with a political party claiming one is better than the other. However, leadership of both political parties have stated publicly that there is no philosophical difference between the parties except their approach but yet when we scroll through social media outlets, there is evidence of an increased hatred and division among us based on our political preference or political opinions. What is more alarming is that some of these hatred remarks are posted in the chats of the political parties and the postings are not removed nor are there any disciplinary actions taken against the individuals who either wrote them or post them. I am conscious there are fictitious names and so the leadership may not know the person behind them. However, when one really looks closely at some of the hatred information being circulated, some of the information provided came from the politicians.
Some may argue that we are not mature politically and that is the reason why this type of behavior takes place. I beg to differ as this type of political hatred is happening globally from third world countries to first world countries but that does not mean it is right.
I have observed hatred in the political arena from the time the ministerial system was introduced in 1976 but in my opinion, the last six years have been an era of unprecedented political hatred in TCI. Perhaps it is more obvious now due to the availability of the different social media applications whereby people are expressing their true colours of how they feel about individuals.
I know there is an increased hatred because of race and nationality too but this article will focus on increased hatred as a result of politics. At least on three occasions, I wrote about this hatred and division and I will continue to write about this until a change takes place.
John Doe is John Doe no matter which political party he aligns himself with.
For the past six years, there have been a major increase on personal attacks on the politicians. We have also seen an increase on personal attacks of individuals that speak out on community issues. I am also a victim of personal attacks simply because I wrote an article on the pension. I did not attack the Government nor the Opposition. I simply provided facts on the pension plan and offered solutions. Due to the increase in personal attacks, I want to pose these questions to the attackers and haters.
If Hon. Rufus were a member of the PDM party, would your opinion of him remain the same?
If Hon Sharlene were a member of the PNP party, would your opinion of her remain the same?
If Hon George were a member of the PDM party, would your opinion of him remain the same?
If Hon. Skippings were a member of the PNP party, would your opinion of him remain the same?
I know if these individuals who you attacked were members of your choice of political party, you would have the best things to say about them. If you can speak highly of them if they were on your party then why are you attacking and hating individuals because of their political persuasion. Recognize that these individuals’ DNA or personality do not change because they aligned themselves with a political party. If we accept this point, let us try to end the hatred.
No difference between the parties
The PDM will tell you they are the people’s party. On the other hand, the PNP will tell you they are the progressive or aggressive party. The truth of the matter is there is no difference no matter how they labeled themselves. It seems like these political parties are like cults and we cannot see any wrong even when politicians do wrong. We cannot justify soundly why we support one of the parties. Some of us support them because of selfish reasons. Most people support the parties based on their family support from the 70s and 80s.
If you agree there is no difference between them, then why the hate element. Even if there were differences, there is no justification for hate. At this juncture, let me say I admire politicians that vote in the House of Assembly on their conscious rather than on party lines or because they want to win their seats in the next general election.
I believe that the governance of our country using our current two-party system is unhealthy for us. At the end of the day, we are more divided than we are united. One would think the intent of the political system was to improve the betterment of its citizens and to unite them. However, this is not the outcome.
It is very obvious what is needed in our country and so we don’t need political parties to carry them out. While the Government and Opposition are meeting to discuss the constitutional changes, they need a better political system of governance where candidates run individually and are selected for ministerial positions based on the relevant experience and leadership skills.
Examine the opinions and criticism
Politicians and supporters need to examine carefully the opinions, the criticism and solutions offered by individuals. Do not be quick to attack the individuals or be mad with them. Have the individuals you attack stop writing? I know that there are some that criticize and do not offer any solutions. However, the earlier a Government gets criticize, the better it is for them especially if they implement the solutions offered. Do not take these criticisms personally. Do not encourage your supporters to engage in personal attacks. Remove them from your chats until they behave themselves.
Do not interfere in the awards of contracts and appointments of staff in Statutory Bodies
A lot of hatred exists because some politicians are interfering in the awards of contracts and recruitment of employees based on political affiliation. Politicians have a way of recruiting and terminating top positions and major contracts with these Bodies.
We are all related and even if we were not related, the hatred we have towards each other is unjustified. People should have the right to express opinions on issues and this should be encouraged but no one should be attacking individuals on a personal matter. Even in own country, we are attacking leaders of other countries. I have seen our people in TCI that do not live in the US attacked President Trump personally. It would be interesting to know the reaction from the locals if Americans attacked our leaders personally.
Most of the attackers say they love the Turks and Caicos? I end with these questions. How can you love your country but hate your brothers and sisters? How can you claim to be a Christian but have animosity towards your brothers and sisters? How can you say, I am praying for you but have so much unforgiveness and hatred towards others?