The cost to the country of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition has multiplied, according to the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, to $300,000 per annum from $45,000. That is almost seven times what it was before. Yet the only thing that has changed is that he has moved across the floor. If he were allowed to have his way, these footsteps would have been high priced and insurable.
One must ask what is it that Dr Douglas has learnt in his return to the Opposition benches that he forgot while in Government? We remind our readers that he had served already in that post, when he and Condor sat in opposition to the PAM government. Why did he feel it fit to offer $45,000 to others but demand $300,000 for himself?
Similarly, what is it that Team Unity learnt while in Opposition that led them to add $30,000 to the office of Leader of the Opposition? Recall how effective Team Unity was in Opposition, with or without the trappings of an office. So what has changed?
But to dwell on the figures is to miss the real role of the Opposition and indeed to cost that role. We do not expect the Opposition to continue to call wolf at every step of the Government. They have been claiming “victimisation” of people whom they seem to consider to be Labour supporters whenever these people are repositioned or when contracts are not renewed. They have been “spinning” instead of proselyting. They have been misdirecting attention when they should be and shouldn’t be.
A major part of the responsibility of the Opposition is to recognise that they are the Government-in-waiting. As such, we expect statesmanship from them, whomsoever they may be. Thus we want them to shadow the government, to make recommendations for improvement in our lives, to point out useful alternatives, to take to the Government owned airways to educate the public. Indeed, the Opposition needs to remember that they are Opposition to the entire 100% electors and all the population and not just to the 53% of the electors ( i.e. 15, 600 or so) who voted for them.
Maybe, just maybe, $300,000 may be sufficient then. It certainly is too much now.