The news making the rounds on social media rocked Antigua and Barbuda, never mind it was not revealing anything that most Antiguans and Barbudans did not already know – that Mr Harold Lovell, the political leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), is more popular than he of a high place. Ouch! We can imagine that he of a high place is not resting easy. Indeed, we are sensing the presence of a green-eyed monster. This will eat away at his heart, his very soul. Remember, he is extremely thin-skinned! Be careful with your agita, o thou of a high place!
Of course, he of an exalted state, never mind his bombastic and boorish behavior, has steadily lost the confidence of Antiguans and Barbudans – his many falsehoods (Eg: The US$200M bond is over-subscribed) and his utter failure to attract investors, restore LIAT as a viable entity, fix the vexing water crisis, finish the car park, pay pensioners on time, open the Nugent Avenue state-of-the-art hospital, raise the minimum wage, give teachers and public servants a wage increase, deliver the supposed fire tenders that have supposedly already been ordered, and so on and so forth) are damning indictments of his lackluster stewardship. And the longer that he stays in office, the more Antiguans and Barbudans are realizing that, notwithstanding his supposed millions and his vast holdings, he is nothing more than a man of straw, an empty suit.
On the international stage he appears petulant and peevish, and can be likened to a one-trick pony, forever anointing himself as the Small Island Developing State’s (SIDS) scold, lambasting the rich countries of the world for their outsized damage to the environment, and their “de-risking” policies, that is, the withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships on grounds of perceived risk. He prattles on endlessly, blissfully oblivious to the fact that sometimes, less is more.
He relishes the big stage where he can point fingers and blabber on about debt forgiveness, blah, blah, blah. Mercifully, whenever he opens his trap, the halls at the UN are usually empty. Nobody cares to hear him regurgitate the same themes over and over again, ad nauseam. In any event, they know that he is only paying lip service to many of the causes that he feigns to champion. For example, they know that he gave the green light to YIDA for the desecration of the mangroves in the North East Marine Management Area (NEMMA), and that he has also given a pass to the Western Imperial Special Economic Zone (WISEZ) to basically do as they like in our largest wetland area. The cordoning-off of lands at Devil’s Bridge has raised eyebrows, as have recent developments on the sands at Long Bay. No serious environmentalist would permit such dastardly things.
Locally, people are sick and tired of his cheap shots at his enemies, real or imagined. He never passes on an opportunity to hit below the belt. And nothing is off-limits for him. Talk about ol’ muck and mire! Interestingly, like most blowhards, he utters an infinite deal of nothing – this Best Western resort, and that five-star Waldorf, and that other Marriott, and this Fort James Development, and that million-dollar investment, and nine times out of ten, none of it amounts to as much as a hill of beans. His ineffectiveness in attracting serious investors, never mind his boastful chatter, has proven to be quite a disappointment and a turn-off to many Antiguans and Barbudans. Seems, his is a reverse Midas touch, where rather than the things that he touches turning to gold, they all turn to dross. Such is our unhappy lot under this regime.
There is a story in today’s DAILY OBSERVER about new investors from Lebanon, and such attendant malarkey. Apparently, these folks in high places will never cease with their pre-election happy-talk. Sigh! Needless to say, we have become quite jaded and cynical, and we will believe this latest feel-good tripe when we see it.
Meanwhile, contrast this Lilliputian leader with the leader of the UPP, Mr Harold Lovell – as fine and as distinguished a gentleman as one is likely to find in these parts. He has invariably conducted himself with grace and class. He chooses his words carefully, and is not given to flying off the handle at every slight. As was once said of Cardinal Richelieu, King Louis XIII’s Chief Minister of France from 1624, so too can be said of Harold Lovell: “So natural and unstudied was his excellency, that no matter how triflingly he might be engaged, his aspect never lost its majestic bearing or the acme of good breeding.”Lovell stands head and shoulders above he of a high place. He is a statesman! He treats all Antiguans and Barbudans with dignity and respect, not disdain and contempt. The more that people see of Lovell, the more that they hear of his plans and policies for the redemption of Antigua and Barbuda, the more that they like him. We are hardly surprised that Lovell is more popular than he of a high place.
Nobody loves a bully and a braggart! Nobody loves the fact that two gas price hikes were foisted on Antiguans and Barbudans, with nary an attempt to ‘ease the squeeze.’ Nobody is pleased with the fact that during the coronavirus pandemic, when so many of us fell on our faces, he of a high place flippantly dismissed calls for a stimulus. Day by day, and with each passing moment, he of a high place is becoming increasingly unpopular. Just ask his constituents. Just ask those in his inner circle. They laugh and giggle with him at his tasteless jokes, but behind his back, they curse him. Just ask any tyrant, from time immemorial – when those in high places fall, not a solitary soul sheds a tear. “The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: How are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon!”[2 Samuel 1:27]
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