Editorial: The season of hope

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Easter has come and gone, and we here at NEWSCO trust that all Antiguans and Barbudans had a most delightful and blessed one. We trust that the promise of the resurrection will fill us with a renewed vigor and hope for the future. Indeed, may we ever be secure in the knowledge that “Because He lives, we can face tomorrow without fear.” The Easter story is the greatest and most inspiring story of all time, and the full pews, the gaiety of colors and the joyous strains that pealed forth from the rafters of our many churches this past Sunday are evidence that we are faithful believers in God’s grace and mercy, and the hope of redemption. Actually, if truth be told, it appeared that even Nature was at one, and in glad approbation, with the notion that there is hope for mankind yet. Birds broke forth in song, and lilies and other springtime flowers emerged from the earth to bloom and blossom and flourish.

We certainly trust that the promise and hope of spring will be reflected in our dreams for our fair state. We hope that some time, sooner rather than later, the nightmare on Friars Hill Road and the Sir George Walter Highway will come to an end, and we will emerge with some kind of halfway decent roadways. Unfortunately, based on the way that things have gone so far, and based on the vague and non-committal responses at the two town halls at the Multipurpose Center last week, we fear that our hope is in vain. But we remain optimistic nonetheless. It is in our nature. And this is the season of hope.

We also hope that there will be more dialogue and meaningful consultations with the people whenever major decisions are being made by our government. And the consultations ought not to be photo-ops and public relations stunts. For example, the road rehabilitation town halls last week were really meaningless attempts at damage control and pretense at stakeholder involvement. So too, was the much heralded prime minister’s meeting with his constituents after the unrest in Point.  So too, the astonishing failure to consult and communicate with the people and the major local stakeholders operating at our Heritage Quay on the matter of Global Ports. Our PM admitted that it was one of his government’s sins – the failure to consult and communicate.

We certainly hope that MP’s and other officials that screw-up and are derelict in the discharge of their duties will be held to account, and that demotions and disciplinary action and relief of their commands will be a reality here in our fair state. No more sweeping of their underperformance and incompetence under the carpet. But here again, our hopes are swinging eternal. So many times, just when we think that the boom will be lowered on one of the ne’r do wells in officialdom, their failure to perform is minimized and the uproar of the people is summarily dismissed as “Much ado about nothing.” The hapless MP’s are almost always given a clean bill of health with a brusque, “Nothing to see here folks!”

We are hoping and praying for just a little bit more transparency; a bit more daylight on the many opaque issues in our state. To be fair, we are pleased to see that Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Molwyn Joseph, owned up to the lack of forthrightness on the part of the Mount St. John Medical Center and its feckless response to the burnt baby incidents, and we are taking him at his word that he is all for more daylight and accountability. According to the good minister, “There are doctors and nurses involved that provide excellent service, and the failure to come out and give a report on what actually happened, could very well result in undermining the excellent service that is being provided daily.” He posited that the hospital’s lack of openness to the public was a disservice to the staff. We also suggest that it was a major disservice to the public.

We also hope that (sigh!) there will be some light shed on the various idle talk about conflicts of interest in our fair state. Self-dealing and profiting on insider information on government’s plans and projects is, well . . . what the hell do we know? Schoolchildren talk too blasted much! We not paying them no mind! Look, our hope is built on nothing less than “Seeing that there is light despite all of the darkness!” Hopefully, in this blessed season of hope, “We are not left to hoping for the best, preparing for the worst and expecting nothing!” [Muhammad Ali Jinnah] Poor us! Hope springs eternal…

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