All’s not well in the kingdom

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Every day we wake up with a sense of foreboding and dread. After all, every blessed day there is some new drama with this administration, and we wish that an election could be called so that we can once again return to “Fair Antigua and Barbuda.” (Emphasis and pun on “fair”). When we hear of elections in New Zealand and Guyana and Trinidad and Jamaica and Bolivia, and even the United States, we sigh . . .  wistfully . . .

Unfortunately for us, we are not as close to a general election as are the folks in the United States who will go to the polls on November 3. We envy them. We wish that they’d call a snap election here, say next year. Of course, there are some who believe that an election will be called as early as March of 2021.  Still others believe that our PM is not as arrogant or as delusional to think that he could possibly win an election next year, not with the sorry state in which we find ourselves – pensions routinely late, employees at the Social Security being paid late, as are the employees at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre and public servants. Every month, it is the same piteous refrain – “Have our salaries been paid yet?”   Meanwhile, people of goodwill are reportedly begging for food for the residents at the Clarevue Hospital, discoloured water continues to flow from our faucets on the sporadic days when there is water, and many Antiguans have had to turn to transactional relationships in order to make ends meet. It is not an overstatement to suggest that Antiguans and Barbudans are disillusioned and disaffected.

The sad thing is that there is little hope for a turnaround in our dire circumstances, any time soon. The bullying of our brothers and sisters in Barbuda has left a bad taste in our mouths, as have the disrespectful manner in which Mother Nature has been shown the middle finger in the North East Marine Management Area (NEMMA) and at Palmetto Point. It is not beyond the realm of possibility for Mother Nature, much like Montezuma, to exact revenge for our wilfull destruction of mangroves and sand dunes. Legend has it that when visitors to Mexico come down with diarrhea and other ailments, and when grand multi-national development projects in Mexico fail, it is Montezuma, the famed emperor of Tenochtitlan, who was killed by the genocidal maniac, Hernando Cortez, serving up a cold dish of vengeance. Yes, the over-sized carbon footprints of the world’s biggest polluters have angered Mother Nature, and she is doling out increasingly fierce hurricanes. See Hurricanes Irma and Dorian.

And whilst on the question of Montezuma, there is an important lesson to be learned from his ill-fated fraternising with developers and scoundrels masquerading as explorers with good intentions. If you’ll recall, war criminals like Cortez and Francisco Pizarro (he conquered Peru), came with a Bible and an outstretched right hand of friendship, whilst holding a sword behind their backs in the left hand.  Montezuma made nice with Cortez, accepting silly trinkets and gifts, and convincing some of his people to put down their weapons. As almost always happens when many charlatans come bearing gifts, Cortez killed Montezuma when he was no longer useful to his conquistador plans. May we learn and remember the lessons of history, because “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” [George Santayana]

Let us choose our ‘friends’ and those to whom we sell our passports, and those to whom we give away the store, carefully. We are very concerned about the wily-nily manner in which two of our most treasured possessions – our land and our passports – are doled out to ‘whosoever will may come’ like candy. What the heck! The people are not happy!

Consider the muck and mire in which we find ourselves, what with the recent allegations and counter-allegations and denials from those in high places. The plots sicken! And schoolchildren are not amused. The scuttlebutt from the mouths of babes and sucklings is that much of what is ladled out for public consumption are half-truths, obfuscations, evasions and downright lies. In other words, as they say in the vernacular, “Nutten ‘tarl go so!” For example, they are suggesting that the recent protestations by the high and the mighty about irresponsible public servants, was feigned righteous indignation, and a bit of a stretch.  

Clearly, “Something stinks in the state of Denmark!” [Marcellus in Shakespeare’s, HAMLET]. If we remember, Marcellus was referring to corruption in the kingdom. It was widespread.

Meanwhile, as if that were not enough, we are seeing a disturbing rise in our Covid-19 numbers. The dashboard of October 17, as of 6:00 pm reflected 6 new cases. We certainly trust that this does not a trend make. We can imagine the contact-tracing challenge that these new cases present.

Noteworthily, after being booted out of Hawksbill Hotel (Schoolchildren claim that it was because of government being slack with their remuneration), and then allegedly being booted out of Halcyon Cove, our ‘by-the-seat-of-its-pant government’ will be quarantining those who cannot be quarantined at home at the old American air base. Hmmm! Hey, by the way, whatever happened to the wonderful bracelets that were supposed to be used to assist in the monitoring of those under home quarantine. Again, we’re hearing stuff from schoolchildren, but we’re “not paying them no mind; it’s children melee!” [King Obstinate]

Folks, if you are scared and worried about the future under this administration, you are not alone. Increasing numbers of Antiguans and Barbudans are turned-off by the double-speak and the double-dealing and the wink-and-nod of the princes and dukes of the royal court. It is the coin of the realm!

Mercifully, ours is not a monarchy with the ‘divine right of a king.’  Much as those here in high places would like to anoint themselves ‘monarchs of all they survey,’ they are not, and there is a day of reckoning a-coming. We are so fed-up; we can hardly wait! Until then, we will continue wearing our masks, (pun intended) because something is clearly rotten and stinking up to high heaven. (It’s not us here at NEWSCO that make that claim; it’s the recent allegations from those in high places.)

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