Heaven help us

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In addition to the utter failure of the coronavirus and vaccine public education campaign, this clueless administration has also failed miserably in almost everything else related to the pandemic here in Antigua and Barbuda.

For example, many thoughtful Antiguans and Barbudans were already of the opinion that our dashboard and all the other official numbers being released by the administration were inaccurate, and we got confirmation of that from he of a high place, who said that the number of infections here in our fair State are exponentially higher than the official numbers.  Of course, he did it without the slightest trace of embarrassment and irony. That’s how out of touch he is. He does not realize that that admission is an indictment of his pathetic administration.

Mind you, he has also hinted, rather darkly, that we could be experiencing many more deaths at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre. (See today’s DAILY OBSERVER). To that, we say, “Heaven forbid!” Our hearts are already heavy with pain and grief. We mourn with those who mourn. It is too much! Just ask the funeral undertakers here in our fair State. We understand that their storage facilities are stretched to capacity, and we may soon have to resort to other means to keep the bodies of those who have perished.

We have also been warned by the health authorities that the St. John’s Public Cemetery is greatly overcrowded, as deaths this year have far exceeded the average of past years.  We are manifestly on the brink, but the administration seems not to care about the dire situation. Talk about ‘whistling past the graveyards.’ Think the Tomlinson’s Public Cemetery debacle. The thought will not inspire confidence.  

Meanwhile, the exceedingly long delays in releasing the dashboard numbers has led to much wild speculation among the populace, with some folks suggesting that the authorities are ‘cooking’/manipulating the figures. The point is that cynicism abounds, and very few Antiguans and Barbudans believe the official numbers. Not even he of the highest place.

Of course, the conventional wisdom making the rounds is that this administration is out of its depth, floundering. For one thing, there is little to no contact tracing. And they’re not even bothering to pretend that contact tracing exists in any real and meaningful way. They as much as abandoned that effort many months ago, and the hundreds of promises by those in officialdom to visit homes and test and all of that sort of thing, have gone unkept. Some folks have been waiting at their homes for weeks to see or hear from someone within the Ministry of Health, in vain. Nobody shows up. Nobody calls! Folks wait forever to be officially discharged from isolation.

And yes, telephone numbers don’t work. Folks have been known to call, and call, and call the official numbers provided on matters pertaining to quarantining and testing and those sorts of things, with limited, to no success. It is enough to drive those who have been under orders to stay at home, to the brink of madness.

Interestingly, in the midst of all this chaos and confusion, the inexplicable false pride and hauteur continues. On the heels of the draconian vaccine mandate, he of a high place was in Parliament yesterday spitting venom and malice aforethought at the good people of this fair State. And other self-righteous goons in the administration followed the lead of their head honcho, hurling invective and cheap low-blows, at any person who dared utter a smidgen of disagreement with the methods and approaches of this increasingly desperate and despotic administration. Anyway, said he of a high place, “And now that we have decided to act as a responsible employer to ensure that there is a safe working environment in the interest of all, public servants have the gumption to be threatening us and challenging us . . . REALLY?! And then some of them telling us that they are going to withdraw their labour; well, guess what, Cabinet has already taken the position that, well fine, you withdraw your labour, we are going to put somebody else in your position, and sometimes, . . . and this is not a threat, but sometimes, temporary becomes permanent; but what we do know is that we will not allow any employee or any group of employees to hold this country hostage.”Sigh! Whatever happened to the language of diplomacy and conciliation? Whatever happened to the noble notion that leaders ought to tone down the rhetoric and strive for a meeting of the minds, in a spirit of magnanimity and graciousness? Seems, those wonderful attributes escape the leadership of this uncivil administration. The spirit of goodwill is anathema to this cabal, it is not their strong suit.

We mean, just look at the utterly unkind and unprofessional words hurled at Mr Wigley George, he of union-leader-emeritus status, and other leaders in the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU). It was such a disgraceful broadside, all because the AT&LU is at odds with the position of the administration on mandatory vaccinations for public sector employees. All people of good conscience here in Antigua and Barbuda are rightfully embarrassed. We certainly trust that the leadership of the AT&LU, as well as the rank and file, will not soon forget the disdain and the disrespect meted out to them by this ungrateful and bully-ragging administration.

Of course, the bully-ragging by he of a high place, reminds us of the former Prime Minister of Trinidad, Dr Eric Williams, who in a fit of pique, scoffed at Trinidadians who sometimes questioned what they perceived as his high-handed ways in conducting the affairs of State. The Mighty Sparrow parodied the good Dr PM in GET THE HELL OUTTA HERE, thusly: “This land is mine, I am the boss / What I say goes, and who vex get lorse . . .  I am going to do what I feel to do / And I couldn’t care less who vex or who feel blue / Who de hell is you to jump and quarrel / This land is mine, lock, stock and barrel /  . . .Who give you de privilege to objeck /  Pay yuh taxes, shut up and have respeck / I am a tower of strength, yes, I am powerful and ruthless / Especially when I am forced to be blunt and rule-less / So shut-up and don’t squawk, this ain’t no skylark / When I talk, no damn dog bark!”

Hmmmm! Sounds so familiar, eh! Talk about Sparrow’s Dr Eric Williams incarnate! When the ‘Top Dawg’ growls, no other damn dog dare bark!  Sigh! Help us, Lord!

      We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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