It is deeply mysterious and vastly troubling that midterm reviews of the nation’s progress should remain the preserve of a few. Planners, policymakers and politicians are holding back what needs to come out in public for the benefit of the people. Bhutanese young and old all have the right to know about the changes and developments occurring in their villages, gewogs and dzongkhags as much as elected leaders and bureaucrats.
Strangely, however, it is as if the review meetings are only for a select group of politicians and civil servants. Although, thankfully, media are allowed to sit through the meetings, they are refused the review documents and reports because we are told that ‘internal documents’ cannot be shared. How is it that the citizens cannot be told about the progress of the nation? We, too, are proud nation builders. We demand that we are pulled into the circle.
What is now the case must sound wholly illogical and mind-numbingly crazy, because it is. We just do not understand why nation’s development – economic and social, among others – should be a secret so tightly guarded. There will be, quite naturally indeed, failures and successes to count. But the people should be in the know so that they can hold their representatives accountable.
Talking about accountability, where is it?
Media are the vital link between the government and the people. When media are denied information, the immediate danger is that the people could be misinformed. Nothing, we think, will have a more detrimental repercussion than this.
As we gather, some of our planned development activities are lagging by far behind, while unplanned activities are succeeding. This prompts us to question the very purpose and usefulness of planned development. Are we letting our precious little resources go in vain? If indeed we are, it is sad.
In one of His national addresses, His Majesty The King said that Bhutanese are exceptionally good planners but poor implementers. Sadly, however, our planners and elected representatives seem to have missed the essence and the power of His Majesty’s message. It is deeply lamentable that although we have His Majesty’s vision to guide us, we falter and fail.
Give us the real picture so that we too can feel the pulse of the nation.