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Today is Halloween in the United States, Canada, Ireland and a few other countries around the world. It is that time when (draculas) sookoonahs, diablesses (witches), jumbies (ghosts) and other evil spirits are said to roam the earth in search of souls. Folks give these spirits treats in order to assuage them. It is also the day before the Christian holy days of All Hallows’ Day (also known as All Saints’ Day on 1 November and All Souls’ Day on 2 November, thus giving the holiday on 31 October the full name of All Hallows’ Eve (meaning the evening before All Hallows’ Day). On Halloween, folks dress in scary or funny costumes, again to supposedly fool the spirits. Children in costumes often go from house to house, knocking on doors and reciting, “Trick or treat; smelly feet / Give me something good to eat.” The homeowners usually oblige by giving the kids candy and other sweet treats. It is a time for much merrymaking and fun – at least, for the children.

While we do not celebrate Halloween here in Antigua and Barbuda, we may as well, because the spirits of malevolence in high places are a-roaming to and fro, seeking whom, and what, they may devour. They put on masks to fool the electorate, they pretend to be kind and and caring, but they are ravening wolves, seeking only to advance their own personal fortunes. When they smile, it is a twisted mirthless smile. When they laugh, it is a joyless cackle. Much like Count Dracula and the sookoonah, they are intent only on sucking the life blood from the country for which they feign love. They are tricksters! They are jumbies! Almost everything they do is self-serving, and if the country benefits by default, then that is ‘brawtha.’

 In a great piece entitled POLITICAL PARASITES SUCK OUR ECONOMIC LIFEBLOOD, John Stossel opines, “Politicians pretend that they are important people doing important work. But often, they’re important because they are parasites. They feed off others, while creating no wealth of their own. We all complain about businesses we don’t like, but because business is voluntary, every merchant must offer us something we want in order to get our money. But that’s not true for politicians and their businessman cronies. They get to use government force to grab our money. Those people who take instead of producing things make up ‘the parasite economy.’ The parasite economy thrives wherever you use the law to get something you couldn’t get voluntarily in the marketplace.”  Hmmm!

Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, is equally caustic in his assessment of the governing class when he declares, “We have more machinery of government than is necessary; too many parasites living on the labour of the industrious.” Hmmm!

Check out Old King Cole in that Donald Trump mask; he is using his position to generate great wealth. Check out those in Wizard of Oz costumes; they are building mansions that reach to the sky. They remind many of the Count’s castle in Transylvania. Check out that other politico in the John Bull costume, he who often surmised out loud when he was in opposition, “Wha mek Antigua nearga nuh goo-dung a market and look for de biggest bullbud, and put om under this administration.” For Halloween this year, there is a thinking in many circles that the aforementioned bullbud ought to be applied liberally to him for the impecunious position in which we find ourselves. Everybody bawlin’ murder because every almost every blessed payment from government is late. We suggest that he be made to judiciously apply the biggest bullbud to himself. That would certainly make for much Halloween levity.

Meanwhile, there is another in officialdom in an Itsy-Bitsy Spider costume. They say that he vehemently opposed a manifestly unpopular agreement, then shamelessly did a full Swaggart mea culpa after he was scolded and tagged as a neophyte. His financial amateurism could explain the over-inflated contract that was almost foisted on the taxpayers of this blessed country. Ah, the taxpayers! We forked over quite a bit of our hard-earned money to buy a family property and bail out the man wearing the Little Tommy Tucker costume. They say that he can negotiate the hell out of a deal!

And so it goes! Halloween in St John’s – all tricks and no treat on the eve of Independence! I mean, we could go on and on and on talking about the grand Halloween parade with the likes of Little Robin Red-Breast, Little Jack Horner, the Queen of Hearts, Georgie Porgie, Solomon Grundy, Simple Simon, Wee Willie Winkie and The Muffin Man. Yes, we could write about the Three Wise Men of St John’s who ditched their costumes and donned the Three Blind Mice costumes. Everybody thought that that switcheroo was more appropriate. And yes, many folks applauded when the little boy on the corner of High and Market Street pointed out that the man in the Emperor’s costume was naked. There he was, preening and prancing in his birthday suit. Needless to say, it was not a pretty picture! Neither are the conditions in the realm over which he presides.

Look folks, the administration is exposed. Covid did that. And we are now privy to its nakedness – all tricks and no treats. Mercifully, the people are speaking up. At least, from our vantage point, it certainly appears so. We are increasingly hearing the voices of discontent and protest. They want an end to Halloween tricks. It certainly would make for an even happier Independence Day. May this, our 39th, be one of great resolve, and a determination to further the cause for which so many sacrificed so much. 

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