WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25: From Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, the need for somebody in authority to do or say something about something is a common fact. It’s certainly common in Bermuda.
Our poor Cabinet Ministers, slaving away to do so much public good for an increasingly ungrateful public, face the need to do or say something about something every crisis-filled day.
Recently, the Minister for the Environment said something about doing something to protect and preserve Bermuda’s 200 mile radius Economic Zone.
Shortly after, the Minister said something about not protecting this Zone after he recognized that he had no practical means to implement that protection decision.
So that good Minister first said something about doing something, then returned and said something about not doing something; all related to the same something.
Another Minister, this time the Minister for Works & Engineering, said something about the state of Heritage Wharf at Dockyard. Later, he came back and said something about the thruster wall. Third time round, he came back again and said something else, different, about the need (?) or now non-need (?) for a thruster wall.
That good Minister said something about doing something, then returned and said something about something that was not needed in the first place; then came back yet again to say something about removing the wall that was found to be now not needed because it was not a protection against something that, after all, didn’t really need protection against something.
Yet another Minister said something about doing more with less. Then, in a Budget Statement, that Minister said something about spending more than was coming in.
That Minister also said something about Debt being an investment and that it was good. Then that Minister said something about increasing investment by adding another $200 million in ‘investment quality’ debt. The same Minister said something about tax expenditure as if it was something that enabled Government to give something to the private sector.
Generally, our hard-working Cabinet Ministers frequently stand, look earnestly into the press cameras, and in a good TV voice say something about something. Each Cabinet Minister seems to try to do this ‘stare, speak, and say something’ act at least once a week.
I am impressed, very impressed, by the ability of our Ministers to stare, speak, and say something. Even if they say something about something and then quickly come back and say — once again — something about something else; or unsay the something that they just said about something.
I am really, really impressed by their ability to so smoothly and apparently conscientiously say something about something and then swiftly unsay something about something — the same something that they just said something about.
PBS, the TV station that CableVision carries is currently re-running that old British series “Yes, Minister”.
If you are interested in the fine art of saying something about something and making complete sense in the process of so doing, then you ought to watch a few of these old shows and see how brilliantly MP (later PM) Hackett performs this task. He is usually assisted by two others, Humphrey (later, Sir Humphrey) and Bernard.
After watching a few, you can rate our Ministers and our Premier against the actors on that show.
After you’ve done that, I think that you’ll agree with me. Our Ministers and Premier are better, far better, at saying something about something.
When needed, our Ministers always gallantly step forward and say: “Something, something, something...” and do so far better than those hacks on “Yes, Minister”.
NB: More than ten days ago, I wrote: “If I am wrong, expect the Minister and Ministry of Finance to deliver a nuclear strike and obliterate me. So lookout for a mushroom cloud over Devonshire. If I am right, expect, once again, the ‘sound of silence’.”
Did you hear the silence?