By Pastor Ron Daniel
The story of John 8:1-12 with particular reference to verse seven forms the core of my article this week. It speaks to the story of the adulterous woman who was caught in the act of adultery and was brought to Jesus for him to authorize her death by stoning. Jesus responded simply by authorizing them that “he who is without sin, should cast the first stone” and simply went back writing in the ground. Based on the conviction of the accusers, none of them could stone the woman and all left one by one. I want to look at it in the context of how we often accuse politicians of abusing power. While I am not here to defend Messer’s Amory, Harris, Parry or Douglas or any other politician for that matter, I am just here to ask us if indeed we can stone them.
There is a raft of people in the private sector who can be accused of abuse. VAT was removed off of food last year which should have seen a concomitant decrease in the price of goods to the consumer. A case of chicken legs for example has moved from just under $120.00 to less than $70.00. However the cost of a chicken leg at a barbecue stall is still $10.00 although it only went up to $10.00 because of VAT. Gas prices have dropped throughout the world, so much so that the Trinidad government has gone in an economic tail spin based on losses from the export of crude oil.
Have we seen the bus drivers reducing the cost for their fares or the boat captains doing the same? What about in the business places? What about the bosses who sexually harass their employees knowing that because they are boss, the employees would have very little recourse to deal with it? What about the board member who use and abuse their power to extract revenge on members of staff or make decisions to get kickbacks so big that they cannot fit under the table? Have we ever seen bosses who give increases to their favourites and allow them to breach company policy but freeze the wages of the others and brutalize them when they come one minute late? It is sickening when because you are sleeping with the General Manager or some supervisor that your performance at work is not as critical as your performance on your secret rendezvous.
How about the various businessmen who sometimes get together to raise the prices of goods and services on the consumer so that they (even as competitors) can make more money to use on their homes, private projects and yachts? How about our good friends in the tourism industry who automatically increase their prices as soon as they realize someone is a tourist or white person? A little key ring that would cost 10 EC suddenly becomes US $10.00 because “they come off a cruise ship” or “they white”. Is that fair to the tourist and what does that say about our tourism industry?
There are still some male teachers who because they enjoy preying on the younger students are having sex (not always consensual) with minors. There are still some teachers who take out personal issues on children because they want to get back at their parents. We can also look at the customs officers who show no mercy on A or B with making them pay because A or B isn’t their friend or they have some personal issue with A or B. What about certain gate keepers who walk with deliberate intransigence to open the gate to allow you to pass? We recently heard of a case with police who decided to circulate sex videos from the memory card of a phone they had confiscated and a police officer who shot and killed an unarmed teenager in very interesting circumstances and a police officer who shot a security guard who allegedly told him not to pee in a certain area.
Certainly this must be grounds for abuse of power. There are many in government (not politicians) who willfully send you around the merry go round when you come to them or a service simply because they do not like you. They act so unwilling to help or may send you to 3 or 4 different people or just delay in responding with a matter or say they will tell a Minister which they never do, just to make your life miserable. They lay back in their big black comfortable chairs and make sure you know they are in charge and you better wait on them.
What about the person who comes back with a degree or Masters or some other certification and have to wait forever to get their right pay and then when they do, it’s never made retro-active and there is no apology for same? There are also those civil servants who believe that “my government is in power” so they don’t have to give an honest day’s work but lime on the town or drive around in AC in a government vehicle which they refuse to park up at the end of the day. Then there are those for which “my government not in power” so they provide perfunctory and pathetic service just to make the government look bad.
I can go on and on to speak of Pastors who use their pulpits to preach on a certain member or parents who wantonly abuse their children. Then there are those in sporting organizations who deny people from a certain village because they want people from their village to play or people who as soon as they are elected to President even of a community group no longer are named John or Jane but President John or Jane. There are also certain treasurers who use the finances of the organizations they manage to take care of personal needs and security guards who use their new found badge to badger you into doing whatever they want you to do.
I have not written this article to defend any politician because I am sure you do not have to look too hard to find at least one who has abused power. It is iniquitous and inexcusable. My only qualm is that there are some of us who are so self righteous who want to stone them when we are not without sin. The Bible in Matthew 7:5 reminds us “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Until next time!