“Ministers are not honourables” : Oh, yeah ? ! Where is it written ?
A news report in the Sierra Express paper, written by Pointdexter Sama, states that two Members of Parliament this week took issue with the Presidential nominee for the post of Deputy Minister of Energy and Power, Mr Martin Bash-Kamara, for having the title of Honorable attached to his name when he appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Appointments For Public Service for vetting.
SIERRA LEONE’S PARLIAMENT
According to the reporter, the MP from Kailahun, Mrs. Alice Foyah, berated the Deputy Minister designate, with support from the” Majority leader of the House who doubles as Chairman of the Appointment Committee”, asserting that the title ‘Hon.’ was “only limited to those who have either served Parliament before or are still in such capacity, and not Ministers of government.” The reporter went on to write that Mrs. Foyah ”stated that over the years, not only Ministers have misused the title but most media houses have referred or titled ministers as “honourables,” bringing their hard-worn title in disrepute.” The journalist continued : “The Majority Leader, Hon. S.B.B Dumbuya became particular concerned about the title and angrily asserted that he will have to visit State House and tell the Presidential Press Secretary about the anomaly.”
COCORIOKO wants to respectfully disagree with the parliamentarians . The title Hon. is not reserved for members of Parliament alone. Such an assertion , if true, is embarrassing . Somebody in Britain or the U.S, or even some of our neighbouring countries, reading such a clanger or howler in our newspapers will mock us for our lack of knowledge of designated titles in society. With all due respect of course to the intellect of the two parliamentarians mentioned , whom we consider academically competent, we still believe that , if they really said so , their statements to the Minister were inadvertently misleading.
The title Hon. is used as a mark of respect not only for high government officials like ministers and political leaders but even for judges, associate justices , high-placed legal practitioners, diplomats and members of the clergy . It is also used for anybody deserving honor or respect in society. Men and women of distinction and recognition are also accorded the title of Hon. It is not written anywhere that only parliamentarians are deserving of the title.
It is hope that this misunderstanding and error will be cleared up with other ministerial designates who appear before Parliament next. Ministers are fully entitled to the title of Hon. as a mark of respect and also because of the service they are rendering to government and the nation.
Ministers are not Honourables – Mps warn
It seems as if Members of Parliament have developed a total dislike for either Ministers referring to themselves as ‘Honourables’ or being referred to in public gathering as “Hon. Ministers”.
The enormity of this self-styled titled came to its pinnacle yesterday in Committee Room 1, where Ministers, on their nominations, are interviewed by the Parliamentary Committee on Appointments for Public Service, when the designated Deputy Minister of Energy, Martin Alex Bash-Kamara had the ‘Honourable’ title against his name on his voter Identity Card.
The issue was picked up by one of the members of the Appointment Committee, Hon. Alice Foyah from Kailahun, who, upon seeing the title, skillfully asked the proposed Minister: “Have you ever been elected as a Member of Parliament?” then the designated Minister answered in the negative, “no”.
The MP went on: “do you have your voter ID Card with you?” she inquired. The Minister again answered “yes!” … “Can I please see it”, the MP requested. The proposed Minister retorted, “I think I have, sure! … and hurriedly dipped his hand in the internal pocket of his coat and produced the ID Card. “bring it forth” the Clerk of the Appointment Committee quickly collected the ID Card from the Minister and gave it to the Hon. MP. The MP beheld the ID Card, and again gave it to the Clerk ordering him to read its content.
Consequently, the name column of the ID Card read thus: “Hon. Martin A. Bash Kamara.”
As a way of sensitizing the proposed Minister, Hon. Foyah, supported by all including the Majority leader of the House who doubles as Chairman of the Appointment Committee, urged the Minister never to use the title, not even accept it when referred to as such.
She said that the title is only limited to those who have either served Parliament before or are still in such capacity, and not Ministers of government.
She stated that over the years, not only Ministers have misused the title but most media houses have referred or titled ministers as “honourables,” bringing their hard-worn title in disrepute.
The Majority Leader, Hon. S.B.B Dumbuya became particular concerned about the title and angrily asserted that he will have to visit State House and tell the Presidential Press Secretary about the anomaly.
However, the Deputy Minister of Energy Martin A. Bash-Kamara at that point conceded that he will never use the title.
By Poindexter Sama