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In the corridors of power

ATHALIAH SAMUELS Tuesday, December 4 2012

My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”



The central theme of Ozymandias by Percy Blythe Shelley is the inevitable decline of all leaders, and of the empires they build, however mighty in their own time. The annals of history are littered with accounts of failed leaders and their failed efforts and schemes.

A leader must be strong and decisive; he or she is expected to make difficult decisions and adopt oftentimes unpopular positions on issues of national interest. In my humble view, however, in addition to being capable of displaying strength and single-mindedness, the hallmarks of a true leader are humility and compassion — traits which very few of our leaders possess.

I think the idea of one man standing up for a cause, misguided or otherwise, has not resonated well within the corridors of power. The concept, the mere notion that one person could be so passionate is alien to many of our politicians — it is why, I believe, many of them seem so uncomfortable when discussing the issue. I have deliberately avoided the impasse in my column but recent and very public utterances and jabs have been unkind, callous and definitely uncalled for and not at all what one would expect from leaders and those in authority.

During the campaign of 2010 we were all regaled with promises of respect for the law, respect for each other and promises of fairness and new governance based on morality and principles. Sadly, the change which many of us were expecting has not materialised a kinder, gentler regime has not replaced the old one.

Regardless of which side of the political divide we each stand on, one thing must always be certain we must not be fearful of expressing our views and our opinions. While I lay no claim to being a journalist of any serious note, I am grateful that the Newsday has given me a space every week to express my thoughts. My Editor is vigilant and guides me in accordance with the ideals of a free and independent press. This to me is what journalistic principles and journalistic integrity are about. While reports may not appear to be favourable towards the People’s Partnership Government the mere insinuation that the media is biased is not only laughable but misguided and misleading. The role and function of the media is not to make the government look good but to merely report the facts. I do also agree with the Honourable Prime Minister that this administration has become the most scrutinised and criticised.

The public has an unalienable right to be informed. The independence of the fourth estate has to be preserved. — journalists must be allowed to do their jobs without fear of reprisals or victimisation.

Are we to understand that because the BBC and The Associated Press carried a report internationally about issues unfolding in Trinidad that these bastions of the free press, these internationally recognised and respected bodies are targeting our government? I highly doubt this!

I look forward to a return to normalcy and stability.

While others call for fresh elections, I continue to hope that the next two and a half years will be better than the last two and a half years and that the government would finally get down to the business of managing the economy, moving the nation forward and bringing prosperity and a better standard of living to not just the few but the many.

Athaliah Samuel represented Trinidad and Tobago at Miss World 2012 in Mongolia. Comments and suggestions may be sent to a_samuel2012@yahoo.com





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