Have you ever wondered why our roads are in such a woeful state of disrepair, and the political directorate does not seem to care? Have you ever wondered why salaries and pensions are routinely late and officialdom clearly does not give damn? Have you ever wondered why the constituencies are in such a horrid state, and the constituents are being treated like dirt, and the Constituency Representatives whistle pass the mess with nary a care in the world? This is because they are of the depraved opinion that they can purchase our votes and purchase our loyalty on the day of reckoning. They derive a certain degree of security from their warped thinking that they can use the public treasury (for jobs and others perquisites) and funds from deep-pocketed donors to buy the silence and acquiescence of the people. It is the coin of the realm.
So they bluff and mamaguy the people. They show up now and again at a funeral or a community fair to shake hands, fake smiles, pose for pictures and talk crap. They listen attentively, or rather, they pretend to listen attentively, and promise this and promise that, bs-ing their constituents until the cows come home. Hollywood has nothing on these actors and actresses.
Consider, if you will, the story of a politician who showed up at a town hall meeting for his constituency. Of course, many politicians usually don’t bother with pesky town hall meetings, so the fact that this two-bit phony deigned to show his hypocritical face was quite a surprise. As was his wont, the politician made a great show of caring and concern, and he asked the constituents what were their needs. A spokesperson for the constituents responded, “We have two basic needs, Honourable Sir. Firstly, we have a beautiful clinic, but no doctor.” Upon hearing this, the good politician quickly pulled out his cell phone and engaged in a loud, passionate conversation with someone at the other end. After a few minutes of animated discussion with that person, he hung up and smilingly assured the constituents that, as of the next day, there would be a doctor at all times at the clinic. He then inquired as to their other need, to which the constituency spokesperson replied, “Honourable Sir, we still have no cell phone reception in our constituency.” Good grief!
To be sure, notwithstanding the fact that he was caught in flagrante, this politico is confident that, come election time, he will be able to bribe the electorate and provide inducements so that his pathetic shelf life will be preserved. Oh me, oh my! Life’s good! He is getting the ‘heebee-geebees’ just thinking about it! A little cheese here and there, and the people all turn into putty. It is a particularly perverse way of thinking, because it is premised on the notion that all people can be bought. It is predicated on the idea that we are all greedy and grasping; that there is nothing good in us, and that given the right circumstances, we will compromise our core values and succumb to filthy lucre. See THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE in which the devil, Al Pacino, seduces a young earnest attorney, Keanu Reeves, by appealing to his basest, win-without-scruples, instincts.
Of course, it is a disrespect to the people by our ruling politicos. They apparently think very little of us and our sense of decency and integrity. They believe that everybody is gluttonous and acquisitive like them, and that we will all pimp our country and sell our souls, if it means a bigger mansion or a heftier bank account for us. They subscribe to the sad observation by a former New York senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who once ruefully declared, “Never underestimate the power of money to change men’s minds.” They believe in the omnipotence of lucre!
But all is not lost, fellow Antiguans and Barbudans. Do not despair! Even when you are experiencing a ‘juniper tree’ moment, as did the Biblical prophet, Elijah, and thinking that the power- structure has won, “and I, even I, only am left,” (1 Kings 19), there are many of our concerned citizens who are still keeping the faith and have not seared their consciences and bartered their souls. Much as the good Lord said unto the despondent prophet, “Yet, I have left me seven thousand in Israel which have not bowed unto Baal, and which mouth have not kissed him,” we say unto you that there is still a faithful remnant that cannot be seduced.
As you may have already figured, we felt constrained to pen this piece after we spotted a news item out of Dominica entitled, “I WON’T BE PURCHASED!” The article by DOMINICA NEWS ONLINE quotes a United Workers Party candidate, Anette Thomas Sanford, as saying, “I am a patriot and stand on principle, and as such, I won’t be purchased . . .”. Sanford claims that she was offered $120,000.00 and a plum position in the government, to withdraw her candidacy for a seat against a ruling Dominica Labour Party candidate. She shared that, “I am pleased to inform you that I flatly rejected the offer . . . I won’t be purchased by the purchaser-in-chief . . . a hundred and twenty thousand dollars is not enough for me to surrender my pride . . . I will never, ever be bought . . . I am not for sale, and my people will no longer be subject to the whims and fancies of [this regime] . . .waving money in my peoples’ faces is a joke . . .” You go girl! May your tribe increase! Tell them to take their filthy lucre and shove it! We here at NEWSCO are persuaded that there is still a majority in the mold of Anette Thomas Sanford that will emerge to put country above self. There are still five thousand, plus, plus, plus, (see the last two Faithful Nationals marches) in Antigua and Barbuda who have not bowed,or kissed,orsuccumbed to the lure of lucre. In much the same way that the Americans are determined to not let Russia interfere in their political processes, we too will not let lucre interferein ours! The future of our fair state demands it.