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A mixed bag of news...

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Viewpoint by WINFRED PEPPINCK


bit of a scattergun approach this week.

Lots of good news recently, some disappointing and some well, in the latter category.

Bouquets first.

Bahrain is a “happy place,” for locals and expats, and among expats, it is seen as the world’s best place to reside – welcoming, friendly, tolerant of difference and religion.

Alone among its neighbours, a synagogue, of which Bahrain, is rightly proud as a demonstration of that tolerance although the government, rightly, condemns the Israeli policy on Palestine.

Some good company profits announced, a beneficial surge in the oil price and the parliament deciding it simply has to look at itself, establish a set of rules to govern the behaviour of its members.

Some quite obnoxious.

Plenty of parliaments to draw on for written expertise, not requiring a delegation to saunter off on a fact finding mission, perhaps only one official to accompany the chairman, to meet at the annual Inter Parliamentary Union Presiding Officers and Clerk’s meeting.

Standing orders, on unacceptable behaviour, yet within robust freedom of speech, parliamentary privilege to ‘expose’ alleged ‘villains,’ inside the chamber, things they might not be able to say outside, without being sued, the famous “coward’s castle,” claimed by detractors. 

MPs walking out in anger, or a fit of pique, banned from voting for a statutory time and certainly, thrown out if they ignore the “chairman on his feet,” he judges an abuse of privilege, fisticuffs, stunts, etc.

As parliament is televised, such behaviour is often relayed to international audiences at news time, in that “look at these bozos over there,” diminishing way.

Sadly, plentiful examples to draw on, which leave the public shaking their heads, are these “our” representatives?

Higher standards, for proper pay.

Bouquets for the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) promise to shut down “recruitment agencies,” which failed to register, as required by law, to help Bahrain “clean up its act and image,” regarding labour relations.

Of the unbelievable 205 such bodies in Bahrain, only 158 have registered.

Plenty of time for compliance; perhaps the rest are indeed dodgy; name them, shame them, shut them down. 

And make it known in labour supplying countries, so that people are forewarned; dodgy companies won’t do.

Half a bouquet for better employment figures for new jobs ... until you see that the numbers were less than those who lost jobs.

And now, many of the hugely profitable banks, and are not that all of them shedding staff or relocating major functions to elsewhere in the region?

Soon staff in Bahrain will join the ranks of the unemployed.

More talking to machines, fewer humans.

And now, down to the brickbats.

The gentleman wanting movies linked with Israelis/Zionists (The two are not mutually inclusive), Jews, banned from Bahraini screens.

Go through the credits, the list is enormous!

Noise, like the pork and alcohol  “banners?” 

Or the ex-MP bemoaning his family’s lost diplomatic passports, because it saves time in immigration queues.

Or suggestions that MPs be paid merely BD100!

Shudder, save me the other ones.

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