YOUR Highness, the expression you used in the remarkable speech delivered during the inauguration of the last round of the current National Assembly indicates that Kuwaitis are preoccupied with apprehension over what is happening in some neighboring countries and its negative implications on Kuwait.
You expressed concern, fear and agony over what is happening in the local terrain. You also offered a piece of advice for everybody. All this was appreciated by Kuwaitis except that the experience about the two authorities – executive and legislative – shows they should also heed the call by embarking on serious and fruitful works to rescue Kuwait from the flying regional flame.
Unfortunately, the Assembly has not shouldered a huge national responsibility in this regard. Instead of working, they ventured into the intrigues of grilling and brightening electoral chances. On the other hand, the Cabinet ran away with resignation. The country is only a few months away from parliamentary elections whose outcome will form the Assembly according to the supreme interest of the country.
Yes, our surroundings in the region are facing massive flames caused by accumulated dereliction over the years due to negligence, lackadaisical attitude or intention to control resources of countries; leading to the massive fire. We are not divulging any secret if we say that it is a hint of what the situation may become if corruption continues as it is in Kuwait. Series of issues concerning authorities should be dealt with sincerely so a minor issue does not become a massive fire.
In this context, we have an example in Lebanon where citizens revolted against very minor tax (WhatsApp tax). This occurred after the government consistently ignored demands of the people and the Parliament got enmeshed in corruption. Things were so bad until they transformed into a massive fire which does not only entail financial collapse of the country but also the return of civil war, while regional and international meddling makes the internal situation more complicated.
His Highness the Head of State,
Since liberation, Kuwaitis have elected 11 Parliaments; some of which were dissolved because a minister did not face interpellation or tried to dodge constitutional accountability. This accountability is part of parliamentary duties, not the exploitation bid of parliamentarians who work for partisan interests that has become the norm.
Kuwait has had 19 governments. Battle has been the dominant trait between the two authorities, up to the extent that one did not last for more than two months. This means the number of retired ministers reached more than 100.
The question is: Will the work in the legislative and executive authorities straighten up under such conditions, considering the average life span of any government is about 15 months?
All this is due to abandonment of responsibility by majority of MPs and ministers, while corruption is prevalent in most corridors of the State.
It is painfully sad that the Cabinet and parliamentary members did not deliberate on the challenges that people in this country are facing in a bid to find solutions. In fact, they did nothing but master the art of ignoring such challenges.
HH the Amir, our guardian,
Certain issues can be solved without the State bearing the cost such as putting the housing issue in the hands of the private sector as it is practiced in Oman, Saudi Arabia and several other countries. All that the State handles is the profit generated from housing schemes.
If this is implemented, there will be no rent exceeding the cost, such as accommodation allowances for civil servants and other issues which increase the financial burden of the State.
In the health sector, the matter is almost like a boat with a hole, especially after the overseas treatment transformed into illegal gain at the expense of public wealth.
For instance, is it rational for the Health Ministry’s budget to be about KD 2 billion and most of which is spent on overseas medical tourism for the sake of political or electoral gain, while the health infrastructure continues to retrogress?
Is it not better to allocate this money for the development of such a vital sector to become a medical tourism destination as it is done in several other countries?
Also, the Bedoun issue is not unique as many other countries are suffering or have suffered from this predicament; yet they were able to put in place solutions which contained the issue or even ended it permanently except in Kuwait where it continues to grow due to stalling or self-interest.
Parliamentarians made this issue a seasonal assignment, while the government goes along with them; in addition to spontaneous decisions regarding the population structure which tainted Kuwait image abroad.
On the recurring loans issue over the years, both the executive and legislative authorities seem unaware of it; maybe because it is one of the sources of electoral gains and every concerned official looks after his own interest.
However, there might be some solutions to the issue including the amendment of legal procedures as a debtor cannot pay the loan while he is behind bars. Can we imagine a Kuwaiti leaving his homeland to run away from a dishonored check? A number of advanced countries no longer enforce such procedures. Those countries provide facilities to the debtor in order to help him pay instead of sending him to jail where he will lose any power to gain or pay money.
Many problems can be solved and prevented from accumulating. Kuwaitis are not asking for miracles. They need solutions to simple issues. Thus, the main request is a government which can work away from parliamentary pressure. Government must not include ministers with common personal interests connecting them and some MPs. What is needed is a powerful government capable of putting an end to corruption and tackling its resources, fearless of the most powerful Parliament where there is no place for verbal disputes. What is needed is a government which works hard in the interest of the country so as not to reach the critical point that breaks the back of a camel when crying over ruins is useless.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times