Editorial: One nation under God . . .

So the concert is on . . . the precious or perverse (depending on your perspective) orgy of “winkin’-up and winin’- up” slated for tonight. In an earlier editorial, we here at NEWSCO  expressed our disgust and opposition to the staging of this concert, particularly at a time when our government, never mind its oft-trumpeted financial wizardry and purported genius, is struggling to pay bills and make ends meet. Every blessed week in this one nation under God, there is a report of another government body under duress – workers on strike, government buildings falling apart, tax-payers money being wasted to pay rent to party underwriters, government profligacy with the people’s money on sweetheart deals to bail out friends, family members, party supporters and the like. This is perfidy most foul!

Ah, some might argue that the concert is not being funded at taxpayers’ expense. While that may be so, we still do not know what the final cost will be to the government, because the government will incur some costs, notwithstanding private sponsorship. So here we are groping in the dark for answers that are not forthcoming. No surprise here. Nearly every thing in this blessed ‘one nation under God’ that involves this government is mysterious and shrouded in secrecy. We are in the dark as to . . . er . . . which “consortium” of private individuals and business entities will be financing this brazen and cynical ploy to hoodwink and distract the people. Heck, we are in the Dark Ages as to just about everything pertaining to this charade? For example, who are the principals backing this nonsense? And what the hell is in it for them? What is the quid pro quo? What are the promoters and entertainers being paid? Who the hell is the consortium? (Sigh!) Who the hell knows?

Needless to say, we remain persuaded that this concert is cheap political gimmickry of the highest, or rather, lowest order, and we urge Antiguans and Barbudans not to fall for it. Whatever the source of the funding, we find the optics poor. In times of extenuating financial circumstances, when roads are a mess and the government is barely able to deliver on its most fundamental responsibilities to the people, we think that restraint and the appearance of prudence and thrift ought to be the order of the day. To throw a big national party in the middle of the quiet desperation that so many people are living is a slap in the face to sober minds and people of goodwill. It is a hoisting of the skirt or a lowering of the pants and a ‘mooning’ of the people who can’t get water or the few pennies owed them by the Treasury. To our way of thinking, there is something unseemly and incongruent with that picture.

Sadly, notwithstanding the aspirational name, “One nation,” perhaps taken from the American pledge of allegiance – “. . . One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” we remain a bitterly divided people. And the staging of the concert is not the way to bring us together. Nay, given the subterfuge and lack of daylight and clarity surrounding this concert, it has served only as a wedge to further divide us. And forget about the “Justice for all” part of the pledge. For too many Antiguans and Barbudans, justice is not the reality. Lady Justice has been delayed, and her delivery of what we hope for is often denied.

Would that, instead of giving aid and comfort to the government by attending this twisted event, we show our displeasure with the unsatisfactory state of affairs by staying away. This concert will be filling the coffers of a few connected people, while the masses will return to deplorable roads and run-around from the government after the shouting and the noise at the Recreation Grounds.

Which brings to mind the American anti-war slogan from the Vietnam era, “Suppose they gave a war, and no one came!” (Wars and conflicts were often started to distract the population from their problems at home, fill the coffers of the military-industrial complex, boost the ego of some leaders, stoke patriotic fervour and so on and so forth). We see similarities here, and we are positing, “Suppose they gave a concert, and no one came!” We hope . . .