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CHOOSING the prime minister is the absolute right of His Highness the Amir; this is something that no one disputes about. As for the ministers, they are chosen by the designated prime minister. In both cases, Kuwaitis have their say. The important aspect in this is that the results can be appraised through the Cabinet’s performance and vision.
In this regard, it is necessary to take a lesson from the legacy of the successive governments, as most of their programs were either cut and pasted from their predecessors, or they were just a high-class formation without any of them leaving an imprint of achievement. Kuwait is enduring today due to these weak governments, and the parliamentarians who have been focused on the struggle over husks and secondary matters, as well as their personal interests.
In the past, ministerial programs had major slogans such as making Kuwait a global financial hub, the northern economic zone, the development of the islands, and the Silk City. At that time, it was said that it would include a financial village, an entertainment village, and a cultural village, and that it would include global trade exchange and provide job opportunities for about 250,000 people.
It was also set to enhance food security and industrial development, solve the housing problem, and deal with the Bedoun crisis, which continues to snowball, in addition, of course, to openness to the world. However, none of this was implemented.
Rather, it got lost in feasibility studies, and wasted time in proposals for laws, some of which were placed in the drawers while some others were applied in the wrong way, leading to increase in the crisis because the concern of the governments and parliaments in reality was to either work to prevent the interpellation of a minister, or avoid the dismissal of certain individual, or dispute appointments and quotas with the parliamentarians.
In this situation, many laws and proposals were neglected. Some were passed in haste to limit the freedom of the public such as the cybercrime law, which unfortunately made Kuwait more like a dungeon. This law made it possible to arrest a person for a mere phrase, and sentence him to many years in prison. This is contrary to the nature of Kuwaiti culture, which is based on openness and tolerance.
Likewise, Kuwait benefitted neither from expatriates as an added value to the national economy, as is the case in the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, nor from its financial wealth to diversify the sources of income.
The most important thing that the successive governments and parliaments have neglected is diversifying the sources of income.
This matter is a necessity that people have been calling for for 60 years, but their calls land on deaf ears because there is a misconception about the meaning of luxury. It means securing people’s requirements in order to work and produce, like in Switzerland and other Scandinavian countries, instead of teaching people to be lazy, something that is prevalent today. For example, the ration card includes items that are unimaginable. The truth is that Kuwait, when it settled on the Constitution, had ended the “sword and tolerance” mentality.
That is why it is expected today from all parliamentarians, especially after their agreement on broad lines, that the country will turn into a major workshop, the basis of which is the development of laws, and pushing towards what the people aspire to in a future that parallels, if not better than, other Gulf states.
For all of this, the question remains – Are we waiting for years of action or small talk?
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
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