By any measure, Sunday’s Whistle Stop organised by the Faithful Nationals coalition, an amalgam of concerned citizens and good governance and opposition forces, including the United Progressive Party and
The Movement, was a resounding success. The turnout of vehicles filled with unhappy and disenchanted Antiguans was so big that when the head of the motorcade was pulling into the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, there were vehicles as far back as the Amaryllis Hotel at the Pigotts main road and Sir George Walter Highway junction and beyond.
Added to that, the energy and enthusiasm was at an extremely high level. Seems, Antiguans and
Barbudans are awakening from the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP)–induced slumber. Soft, do we hear voices of protest! Hark, do we hear rumblings of discontent!
Of course, there are the obligatory nay-sayers and “Doubting Thomases” who will attempt to pooh-pooh the turnout. They will low-ball the estimate of vehicles and throw cold water on the enthusiasm of those for whom enough has become too much, but they scoff at their own peril.
To no one’s surprise, it had to come to this: Less than a year into the regime’s second term, there is little or no upward mobility for the masses of the people; only a handful of the chosen are doing well, and the rest of the nation is cursed with a government so blinded by its own conceits, a government so willfully and wantonly unresponsive to the needs of its people, a government so inordinately disrespectful (failure to consult with the people or seek a consensus or be forthright on any matter), that even those who were once willing to cut the government much slack, have become good and fed up. Fed up with the daily diet of half-truths and outright lies! Fed up with the smirking and the smugness! Fed up with the, oh so disappointing, failure to deliver on so many levels! Even the dyed-in-the-wool crimson card-carriers are bereft at the numerous and varied ways in which this regime has underwhelmed the people. Hence, Sunday’s huge whistle stop. Think, the ‘Silent Majority,’ silent no more!
We here at NEWSCO stand squarely behind those who are shaking off the stupor and taking a stand. We firmly believe that we, the body politic, cannot yield ourselves to despondency and despair. All is not lost! The stunning rebuke of the government juggernaut at last year’s CCJ referendum is proof positive that the so-called “Red Machine” is not all that it’s cracked up to be. At last November’s referendum, notwithstanding the government’s cynical attempt to appeal to narrow political partisanship, many people of good will crossed the divide and spoke in unmistakable terms then, and we believe that they will again cross the divide and speak in voices loud and clear, now.
There is a day of reckoning, and Sunday marked a seminal moment in our nation’s quest for accountability, redress and the dawn of that day. As the great Martin Luther King Jr. so passionately declared, “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice!” And in Antigua and Barbuda, it is a-bending. Seems, the honeymoon with this administration is over . . . and if the mammoth whistle stop is any indication, we Antiguans and Barbudans are stretching and rubbing the ‘yampie’ from our eyes.