A crisis of confidence

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There is a story of a boy who was so very well known for telling fibs, that when he finally told the truth, no one believed him. It is the tale, THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF [AESOP’S FABLES], the moral being that fibbers will ultimately be confounded by their fibs. Now, to be sure, we are not accusing this administration of fudging the truth about our Covid situation. We are not accusing those in high places of cooking the numbers, or of being less than forthcoming. We take the authorities at their word on all the pronouncements having to do with our Covid fight, and we urge all Antiguans and Barbudans to do the same. In the name of all that is good, we beg the citizenry to giving the authorities the benefit of the doubt, forsaking all the murmurings and the conspiracy theories.

Having said that, there is no denying the fact that a goodly number of the citizenry are having more than their fair share of raised eyebrows and looks askance with every pronouncement from on high about this Covid crisis. Why the Doubting Thomases and the skeptics? Why doth cynicism so much more abound? It is because this administration has had a history of prevarication and obfuscation. Some might say that they have had a  . . . how can we put this delicately, . . . er . . . tenuous relationship with the truth in the past. Much like the proverbial burnt child who dreads the fire, we are now given to running like hell whenever we see smoke from this mendacious administration.

Of course, we could recite a litany of “slips of the tongue and mind” by this government, but we would much rather not sully the pages of this good paper with matter fit only to be discarded. But still, we’ll mention the grandiose talk about having EC$500 million set aside for this crisis to help alleviate the suffering of the people. Turns out “nutten tarl go so.” Then there was the stunning revelation that someone had forged the PM’s signature at the Customs and that there would be grave consequences and repercussions. Turns out “nutten ‘tarl go so.” While there were indeed egregious financial shenanigans at Customs, there will be no consequences and repercussions for those who committed forgery and defrauded the government. Seems, there will be no consequences and repercussions except for those who sought to investigate and right the wrong.

What’s the story of NYAMCO? What’s the real story of WIOC and the good gentleman who owns at least 25 percent of the shares? Why the stall on completing the new state-of-the-art hospital at Nugent Avenue, especially after it was launched with so much fanfare? What’s the real story behind the Isolation and Quarantine Unit at the Holberton Hospital? What’s the level of success with the Digital Nomad Visa programme? Have there been any takers, or merely a handful who have only made inquiries? Why did the fifteen-plus geniuses who sat on the Economic Recovery Committee not come up with an immediate plan to stimulate the economy, resulting in new employment and monies in the pockets of laid off/terminated workers?  What is the real Covid situation here in Antigua and Barbuda? Is it much like the dark and conspiratorial whisperings of those who have become quite jaded at this administration’s double-speak, or is it it more in line with the feel-good, don’t-want-to-hurt-tourism jargon of those in high places? The sad fact is that if one were to ask three different people in high places about any of the above, one would be likely to get three different answers on any given day.

In the parliaments on the streets, which is where the real people convene to debate and discuss the issues affecting their lives, one is likely to hear words to the effect that “nutten tarl go so” or “ah nah so de story go.”  Apparently, there is a high and pervasive degree of suspicion and disbelief.  Our government cannot be trusted! Sigh! With this administration, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. With this fast-and-loose administration, many people simply shrug at the official spiel and say, resignedly, “We’ll believe it when we see it.” And don’t talk about the public’s wariness as to government’s motives and the behind-the-scenes-connected who benefit from every blessed project in this fair State.

As we have said before, we sympathise with those earnest and sincere men and women who sit at Covid press conferences, doing their best to provide accurate information, and reassure and exhort the public. Theirs is an unenviable task, because the public is seeing a monster behind every shadow on account of this administration’s pants-on-fire track record.

 A good gentleman named Richard White once opined: “You can’t trust the government to do anything right – except of course to conspire and cover up? Then, it becomes diabolically efficient.”Sigh! Clearly, this administration is not unique. Consider the words of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who, in the face of government disingenuousness, responded thusly: “Is there any wonder why we are in such big trouble? Any reason why the people don’t trust their government anymore and demand a change?”

Former US President Barack Obama pointedlydeclared, “If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists, to protect them and to promote their common welfare, all else is lost.” Hmmmm!  Serious food for thought . . .

We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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