Editorial: Cry, “Foul!”

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The more we look back at Sir V.C. Bird and his genius purchase of the Syndicate lands without saddling us and generations to come with a millstone about our necks, the more we feel like crying “Foul!” when we consider the peppercorn returns from this Global Port Holdings (GPH) flop. And whereas Papa Bird’s place as the father of the nation and our esteemed national hero is unquestioned and secure, what with his negotiating and finance-raising skill, this regime’s place in ignominy is equally unquestioned. They have underwhelmed us, with their lame (and false) admission that this is the best deal that they could have gotten. And right-thinking folk are not in a tolerant mood!
Look, not even their supporters are impressed by their ‘piss-poor’ performance in general, and the GPH mess in particular. Indeed, most folks are seriously disappointed, especially since this was the party (Antigua Trades and Labour Union and Antigua Labour Party) that surprised George Moody Stuart and the Syndicate Estates with a check for six million pounds – the asking price for all the Syndicate properties. So why the hell are they now so eager to lease, cede management rights, even sell in exchange for so little and for so long? (See YIDA, Paradise Found and GPH). So long, for so little? Precious little!
Antiguans and Barbudans will not abide this folly and we are now willing to give voice to our discontent. (See last week’s mammoth public rally at the old parliament building and this past Thursday’s picket at Heritage Quay by Faithful Nationals of Antigua and Barbuda). Brothers and sisters, if this is not the political and development construct that we want for ourselves and our children and our children’s children, then let us not be silent. Silence gives consent! Let us “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!” (Shakespeare). Let us cry, “No fair!”  Pearl S. Buck cautions, “When good people in any country cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail.” Our very own Pearl Quinn-Williams, a fresh-faced MOVEMENTEER and activist with a passion for that which is right, and a patriotic zeal, echoes those sentiments. So too does the venerable and highly-esteemed Mrs. Cynthia Boone Thibou who has launched a petition in opposition to this Faustian deal. Edmund Burke also concurs when he says, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” We must needs stand up with acts of defiance – civil disobedience, boycotts, demonstrations, petitions, pickets, strikes, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp chatrooms, call-in programmes, whatever.
Let us stand up and cry out when our nation is being given away. The GPH marriage-made-in-hell is an unequal yoke in favour of GPH. If we do nothing, we will rue this day. No consultations! Besmirching those who question the deal (some say steal), Trampling on the ideals of transparency, good governance and accountability. It’s the highhanded, “My-way-or–no-way” approach that is so off-putting. Mr. Allister Thomas, an activist, historian, cultural icon and deep thinker, is outraged at the overly-generous giveaway, and he wonders out loud if, since by his own admission, the prime minister and his “tough” negotiators can’t get a better, more equitable deal, other strategic planners, financial consultants and the like could not be brought into the process. But that’s asking too much of this administration, we suppose.
In POWER AND AUTHORITY, King Short Shirt laments, “. . . When they have power and authority, they don’t give a damn about nobody / Prostituting de island, to all and sundry, dey peddling my people’s rights; making my people starve / Exploiting, oppressing; less freedom, more suffering / Ah wonder how we so vile! / Tink it over, my friend! Tink it over, carefully, again!  / Tink it over; don’t vex wid me, Shorty / Tink it over, I am singing as ah see!”
Think it over, my dearly beloved countrymen! We are seeing it the way Shorty saw it! Think it over, and then cry, “Foul!”

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