by Arley Gill
“In the first 100 days my government is going to do….’’ How many times have we heard that from politicians all over the world? We, in the Caribbean, may be more familiar with the first 90 days (3 months), as a benchmark politicians use to get their government going.
Now, how realistic is that promise is another question. Some persons might argue that the unrealistic nature of such promise is characteristic of politicians, who promise anything to get vote.
The truth is that opposition politicians may make promises, boast of grandeur, without knowing the true state of a nation’s finances. Some politicians, with more guile and experience, may limit their promises to simply pledging to pass laws or choosing some other low hanging fruits.
This issue of the first 100 days is topical now, on all the major western major news networks, because US President Donald Trump’s performance in his first 100 days is under scrutiny.
Frankly speaking in passing, I must say I have not witnessed before such a chaotic United States presidency; and to be fair and honest, the chaos of the Trump administration far surpasses that of any government in the English-speaking Caribbean. The naked lies, tweets, double standards and mixed messages of Trump and his team, would have brought any government down. But, Donald Trump is not any leader, for what that’s worth. This guy has defied all political logic so far.
On the issue of the 100 days, it seems as though Trump has failed to come close to meeting expectations. His executive orders – most notably on immigration – have suffered defeats in the courts, even the recent one this past week on so-called “sanctuary states’’.
His promise to repeal and replace Obamacare is yet to materialise, and he had to put his “tail between his legs’’ for the time being on that one. What beats me on that issue is how such a complicated matter is treated with such haste, as if the lives of the Republicans depended on it. To be honest, the American Congress and Senate make the Parliaments in the Caribbean a rather mature and responsible body, in my view. For all our weaknesses, comparing these American politicians to ours, one has to admit that Grenada and Caribbean politicians may not be that bad after all.
I can fully understand that politicians may want to impress their supporters as soon as possible when they assume office. However, I get the sense that people are more genuinely concerned about what you do over time. I am of the view that too many times, voters are underestimated by their leaders. In as much as people want jobs, increased wages, better healthcare and so on, I do not think that the majority does not understand the challenges that their government faces. Leaders may need to be more honest and open in speaking to their constituents, I admit; but the people, generally, understand what is at stake.
A government’s fate is not decided in its first 100 days; that is for sure. People want to see what you do over a period of time. They will support you next time around if you are making sense.
If the people are not sure about you – the politician and the governing party – over time, they might just give you a timeout.