In my last article in the Forum page of Le Mauricien, I said that there is a scarcity of nous and quality in the government ranks. Having heard a number of them on the radio and seen others on television, I have come to the conclusion that my initial assessment was somewhat flattering, because mediocrity seems to prevail among some of the backbenchers and even some of the frontbenchers. I also said that one of the most obvious problems of this government is the level and quality of its communication in outlining its policies regarding any important decisions but primarily in trying to justify and substantiate its course of action which might appear controversial and not readily accepted by the public. More to the point, it is the ability and calibre of those chosen to front these events and the press. If the government wants the message to be heard and understood, then it should choose among those who have a clear diction and can articulate properly. Of course the messages delivered must be clear, precise and to the point but the main failing so far has been in the aptitude and competence of those chosen to deliver the messages from the government ranks.

This is where matters seem to have taken a turn for the worse lately. In parliament, backbenchers who usually have little to say, have suddenly woken up and have had plenty to say by reading which I assume is a prepared script either by themselves or for them by the well paid advisors. The fact is that they decided to speak is very laudable because that is the very reason they were elected but the timing seems somewhat out of

synchronization with their usual pattern of behaviour. To compound what appears to be a clanger, the government decided to wheel out the serial turncoat to defend its policies, hardly a wise move by all accounts and to complicate an already difficult situation for his party, he tried to justify the distasteful and unacceptable behaviour of the loudspeaker. He would have been better advised to keep mum on the subject. Referring to the latter, I humbly suggest that he does not need only some lessons in decorum but also the right way to wear his mask, which is always in situ under his nose. Perhaps, the Minister of Health could oblige with some timely advice.

To crown it all, then we had the arch defender of the government who is always prepared to speak up for his leader, immaterial of the circumstances. He usually utters his usual lot of balderdash to justify what his lord and master has said on the day. On that occasion, he was flanked by two colleagues who seemed to be ill at ease in front of the media and had little of substance to say, and constantly referring to the bits of paper stacked in front of them. Apparently, there is a possibility of some impending good news for the government. I have heard through the grapevine that the return of the prodigal son in the government ranks might be imminent, a heavyweight by all accounts in terms of ability. If this turns out to be true, not a wild rumour, it should at least enhance the standards within the ranks of the government, something much needed in the present circumstances.

As if not enough collateral damage had been done, we had two other members of parliament within the government ranks offering “gateau Marie” to the public with their names inscribed. A crass initiative condemned by one and all, when will they ever learn?  If ever the adage “shoot oneself in the foot” was applicable, this is the ultimate. Where are all the experts in communication employed by the government? Do they not at least brief and guide them before they go before the media. My advice to them to the aforementioned parliamentarians, is that if they do not have anything interesting and of substance to say, say nowt and try to fade in the background.

Once again, I reiterate my offer of my services free to all those in politics who generally have difficulty in communicating effectively. Otherwise, I would suggest that they keep well under cover instead of doing a disservice to their leader, party and ultimately their country.