Trust is a uniting force that keeps a relationship together. That relationship could be a familial relationship, a romantic relationship, a workplace relationship, or it could be reltionships in the church or in government. Trust is crucial for the survival of any of these relationships. Stephen Covey defines trust as follows:"Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the fundamental principle that holds all relationships." Santosh Kalwar believes that"trust starts with truth and ends with truth." Lincoln Chafee reminds us that "trust is built with consistency." The following statrmrnt by the OECD reinforces the views just expressed: "Trust is the foundation upon which the legitimacy of public institutions and a functioning democravtic system rest. It is crucial for maintaining political participation and social cohesion. Trust is important for the success of a wide range of public policies that depend on behavioural responses from the public. For example, public trust leads to greater compliance with regulations and tax system. In the longer term, trust is needed to tackle long-term societal challenges such as climate change, ageing populations, and the automation of work."
The concept of public trust relates to the origin of democratic government and is fuelled by the idea that within the public lies the true power and future of a society therefore whatever trust the public places in its officials must be respected and they must account for it. Here we are talking about political trust which is really the people's confidence in political institutions. It is an important indicator of political legitimacy.
Very often I hear people saying that they are not going to vote in the next general elections. That is a sign that people are losing their trust in government. People are more likely to trust you when they believe your actions align with the values and principles they believe in. Voting is the only opportunity each of us has to show our confidence in the people who we elect to manage the affairs of the Territory. When you fail to exercise your vote you are ecpressing that your trust in the government has been damaged. You are saying that you believe that the people cannot do the right thing. You do not believe that people are honest and sincere in their actions. Trust in government is important for the political system to work effectively. Very often representatives of the people cancel that trust by their behaviour.
Democracy is weakening globally due to growing illusionment in the trust between political representatives and¹ the public. In the BVI at this time trust in govrrnment is waning. The challenge for all of us is to rebuild that trust. Building trust is crucial for the survival of true democratic government. We are all builders of that trust.
"...blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They sre like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."
- Dr Charles H. Wheatley