24 de Feb de 2020

Nacional

Lining up at the public trough

When it comes to feeding at the trough one had hoped that the Mother of Parliaments, the British House of Commons, would be relatively i...

When it comes to feeding at the trough one had hoped that the Mother of Parliaments, the British House of Commons, would be relatively immune from the hogging that seems to have spread like a pandemic throughout the world of politics.

But the revelations in Britain’s Daily Telegraph have raised a storm around the world, as stories pour out about spending massive amounts on rebuilding a home, cleaning the moat on a privately owned castle, purchasing a $12,000 TV screen, and more. And, in the eyes of many legislators it was all legit. Perhaps they thought, that in spite of Oliver Cromwell, the Divine Right of Kings, or their elected successors, still holds.

An interesting aside is that The Daily Telegraph once belonged to Lord Conrad Black , currently serving a six year jail term in the US for padding his own life style with monies from his far fllung newspaper empire.

THE LOCAL TROUGH. But even the biggest robbers of the public purse in the UK fade into insignificance against some of the depredations of Panama’s politicians, summed up neatly by incoming President Ricardo Martinelli , as “Arriving with empty pockets, and leaving as millionaires”

Then there are penny ante goings on like the wife of an electoral judge using his official car as her own private chariot. Didn’t a police officer in another province get sent to jail last week for doing the same?

One hopes that Martinelli, will follow through on the recent promises of Vice President elect, Juan Carlos Varela, to rein in the freebies of our own legislators, and maybe end that cursed immunity of legislators from prosecution.

It’s time to end botellas, gas allowances and other perks. Legislators are handsomely paid compared with the mahority of the population, so maybe it’s time they paid their own way. If they can’t afford the gas for their expensive duty free imports, then maybe they can use public transport. A few days riding the fire breathing diablos rojos should help them move more quickly to solving the transportation problem.

JUST WONDERING. Among the many faces that will soon be disappearing from the National Assembly is Baseball czar, Franz Wever who is hardly likely to win the Mr Popularity contest among some of those he has ruled in the sporting world. A group of his fellow Olympic Committee members are currently before the courts. If there are any skeletons in the closet, in a little more than a month his immunity from prosecution will disappear.

CLEANING UP. Last week I remarked on the lack of action by the political parties on removing the election signs from the streets, in spite of pleas from the city mayor’s office.

There was a quick reaction from the president-elect’s office, and Mr Martinelli was photographed removing a sign. His handlers could have got more photo ops. As late as today his face still smiles down across the city including in front of the yuppy Japanese restaurant Sushi Ito in Obarrio. He is not alone. A few meters away stands a giant billboard featuring losing presidential candidate, Balbina Herrera.

VICTIMIZED? Last week the Star carried a story about a US drug saleman, who went back to his home town and ranted to the local media about his treatment at Santo Tomas hospital, where he was taken as an H1N1 suspect. He paid $2 for his test, and then skipped back to his hotel before the results came through. The police picked him up. He claimed he was a victim of hysteria that has been sown about swine flu. A real victim was the vice principal of a New York school who was not tested in time, and died Sunday-