HomeEditorialsA dirty shame

A dirty shame

It is really a crying shame when a government turns on its people and begins to blame them for its failures.

Instead of taking an introspective look at itself, this administration has begun to cast about for a scapegoat. Sigh! According to the Cabinet notes of Wednesday July 21, 2021, “The Cabinet is of the view that there is also a political element at work, seeking to prolong or worsen the economic fallout from the Covid-19 disease, in order to gain an advantage. In the hopes of experiencing an economic collapse by the contraction of the highly-dependent tourism sector, there are those who deliberately discourage the taking of the vaccine by spreading falsities and engaging in scaremongering.”

Naturally, the question on our minds is: Who is playing politics? It is certainly not the United Progressive Party (UPP).

The UPP does not need the fallout from the pandemic as a campaign plank. This hapless administration, has already screwed things up, outside of the damage done by Covid. This government’s brazen neglect of the people, its neglect of our infrastructure, and its manifold broken promises has already undermined its credibility and whatever residual goodwill it had left.

The people are demanding better. They expect better. And increasingly, the United Progressive Party and its excellent team of candidates is looking like the better option. The UPP team cannot possibly do any worse than this sad-sack administration. Let’s see, we’re talking about empty suits like the Honourables Londel Benjamin, Dean Jonas, Samantha Marshall, Maria Bird Browne, Charles Fernandez, Asot Michael, Michael Browne, et al, and Honourable dinosaurs like Robin Yearwood and Molwyn Joseph.

Walt Disney has nothing on these people. But don’t take our word for it, just ask any of the longsuffering constituents in their various constituencies, and you’ll get any one of the following responses – a sigh of resignation, a shrugging of the shoulder, a roll of the eyes, a loud ‘chupz’ or plenty ‘bad wud.’ The people are so sorely disappointed. They were shortchanged.

Anyway, Cabinet scraped the very bottom of the barrel this week when it sought to point fingers and inject the ‘playing politics’element in the discourse as to the way forward out of this pandemic problem. Again, we ask: who is playing politics? And to what end? We offer that it cannot be the UPP, never mind this administration’s unholy and unspoken attempt to suggest same, what with the UPP being the only serious and credible opposition. Let us not be unmindful of the fact that the UPP has been unstinting in its support for the national vaccination effort. The UPP has also suggested a number of measures to provide relief to the people, and proffered numerous ideas for our economic recovery. Unfortunately, they have all, for the most part, been rejected by this administration.

The UPP has always sought that which is best for Antigua and Barbuda.  After all, the fruits of success will redound to us all. If things fail, then we’ll all suffer. Similarly, the party is ever mindful of the fact that the coronavirus is no respecter of persons. If there are massive outbreaks, there is no telling who could fall victim and perish. And of course, the resulting economic fallout would again heap untold damage upon us all. Ours is not a death-wish opposition.

Consider, if you will, the public service announcement by the political leader of the opposition: “Hello, I am Harold Lovell, political leader of the United Progressive Party, and I am here to lend my voice to a very important national effort that can help our nation return to normalcy. The Covid-19 pandemic affects ALL of us regardless of political affiliation. It’s a global issue, it is not a partisan issue. Take the vaccine! And if you have any doubts, speak to your doctor. And, after you have taken the vaccine, remember to observe all the protocols, because it will take a while before we achieve herd immunity. So, we are all in this together – each vaccinated, all protected!”Very well said! Clearly, there are some things that transcend narrow partisan and parochial interests. The existential fight against Covid-19 is one of those things, and a pox on those who would seek to turn it into a political football. And yes, a pox on those who would seek to suggest that some of us are playing political hanky-panky.

Actually, we here at NEWSCO suggest that it is the Cabinet itself that is playing politics, seeking political mileage and some perverse advantage, by desperately and tastelessly tagging others with the ‘playing politics’ label. For shame! A low-down dirty shame! But what can we expect from an administration that, when it was in opposition, gratuitously played politics with every blessed thing that the Baldwin Spencer-led government sought to accomplish. For example, at the height of the Great Recession (2007 -2009), after the bursting of the US housing bubble and the global financial crisis, many of those who are now in high places went all around our fair State saying that there was no financial crisis. And they knew better. Similarly, they railed against the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), with strident objections to the selling of our passports. Sigh! Talk about rank hypocrisy! Talk about wishing ill on the country! Talk about opposing just for opposing sake! This Antigua Barbuda Labour Party, while in opposition, made a virtue out of rooting for failure in order to advance its political fortunes.

Perhaps there is no better way to end this discourse than by invoking the words uttered by Boston lawyer Joseph Welch in 1954, during the Army-McCarthy hearings in the United States. Said the good attorney, after another Senator Joseph McCarthy outrageous claim, “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Let us not assassinate this lad further. You have done enough! Have you no sense of decency?” Hmmmm!

We ask the same question of the Cabinet, those in high places, seeking to assassinate the good name and motives of others with their spurious claims: ‘Have you no sense of decency?’

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