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Thursday, 23 September, 2021
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An early election

We’d been hearing some rumblings that an early election was in the offing.  Some of the cognoscenti were telling us that an election could be called as early as November of this year – that would be roughly a full year and a half before they are constitutionally due. We did not lend much credence to the notion. After all, with the unbelievable way in which this administration has bungled so many things, we did not think that they’d have the nerve to present themselves to the people for another term at this time. But as the political leader of the United Progressive Party, Mr. Harold Lovell suggests, the election could be called early because this hapless administration intends to deliver tough and bitter medicine to the people in its aftermath. 

Consider the following from the Cabinet notes of Wednesday June 9, 2021: “The Cabinet has also instructed the Supervisor of Elections to make the arrangements to purchase ballot paper, to acquire all other supplies necessary to conduct free and fair elections, and to ensure that all human and material resources required to hold flawless elections are available to the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission in quick order.” Hmmm! There you have it, folks. No more “thief in the night,” which caught the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) a bit off-guard back in 2018. But that was then . . . 

And this is now! The UPP is ready and waiting! They have painstakingly put together a slate of excellent candidates – a slate that stands head and shoulders above ALL the incumbents that they are seeking to replace. And they are doing all the necessary groundwork – knocking on doors, meeting with the people, and listening to their needs and hopes and fears. From all reports, their reception in the various constituencies has been overwhelmingly encouraging. As well it should be. This administration has been such a disappointment! Such a failure! They have not lived up to the expectations of the people. For example, two of the members that were elected last time around, are no longer holding any portfolios, and the good gentleman down in St. John’s Rural West has all but abandoned his longsuffering constituents. Talk about wasted votes! The people in St John’s Rural West, as in ALL of the constituencies, have been severely short-changed.

And not forgetting to mention the myriad promises that have failed to materialise under this ‘sweet-mouth,’ ‘happy-talk’ administration. It has all been pie-in-the-sky foolishness designed to placate the people and fan us to sleep, just so that the giveaways and the self-enrichment, and the double-dealing, and the conflicts of interest can continue for another season. It is a cynical ploy that worked in the past. We submit that it will not work this time around.  We are going into this election with our eyes wide open.  We are seeing this administration in all its nakedness, and it is not a pretty picture. 

From Cedar Grove to Potters to ‘Roun South’, our roads continue to be much vexation of spirit and the pocket books of the people. They are of a Third World caliber, and the recent rash of road work by the Works people will not suffice. There is no way that an administration can ignore its people for the better part of its term in office, deliver election roads and other cheap, transient gimmicks on the eve of an election, and expect to win. Perhaps that nonsense can happen in other places, and perhaps it has worked here to good effect in the past, but not in this Antigua and Barbuda at this point in time. We are a discerning people, and we have matured enormously. The tricks of the past will not avail much. 

Neither will the lies. How tiresome, quite frankly! This is an administration quite given to saying what they think is a good sound-bite, and what they think the people want to hear. How pathetic – its tenuous relationship with the truth and reality. From grand pronouncements about the Sunshine Hub Car Park, the new Fiennes Institute, the opening of the ADOMS building, the arrival of an OASIS class vessel to test our berthing facilities and the turning basin at the new pier, the start-and-stop work on the Little Creek Bridge, the downright deplorable condition of St. John’s, the failure to deliver a stimulus when the people needed it most, the undelivered promises – blah, blah, blah, the people no longer set store by any of it. WE ARE TIRED! 

We are also tired of the drama in this administration – the Minister Jonas suspension and reinstatement.  We are tired of the bullying and the bombast – the Prime Minister’s many utterances. We are tired of the many Ministers who seem to grow smaller and smaller in stature. We all know who they are; no need to call their names. Think Mickey and Minnie Mouse! 

The point is that we can do significantly better than that. Currently, we are merely treading the water in a Sargasso Sea of mediocrity. WE CAN DO BETTER, and we suggest that this impressive UPP ticket deserves a chance to prove itself. The ticket cannot do any worse than this fumbling, bumbling incumbency. WE CAN’T BREATHE! We need the foot of this self-serving administration off our necks! Time for a change; time for a breath of fresh air!

In that spirit, we lift a line from the scriptures, “Even so, come quickly!” Indeed! The political leader of the UPP, Mr. Harold Lovell said yesterday that he welcomes the early election, and that his team is prepared, and that he is confident that the UPP will prevail. We here at NEWSCO share his sentiments. After all, as the late Tim Hector used to say (a paraphrased version), “Aggravation gone up!  Disappointment gone up! Disaffection gone up! And WE ARE FED UP!

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

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