Power is a helluva thing!

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Say what you like about the British, they seem to know “when to say when.” They seem to know when to exeunt stage left. For example, former Prime Minister David Cameron resigned his leadership position after he lost the Brexit vote. Theresa May also resigned after failing in her several attempts to forge an orderly Brexit deal.  Before these two hapless leaders, there was Sir Winston Churchill who resigned in 1955 on account of his poor health.  Sir Anthony Eden also resigned in 1957 over his fumbling of the Suez Canal crisis. In 1963, Harold MacMillan resigned as British prime minister over the Profumo affair. That was a (by our tawdry standards today) a ‘dolly-house’ sex scandal in which John Profumo, a ranking official in MacMillan’s administration, denied, then admitted, having an affair with a 19-year old young woman. MacMillan was not directly involved, but the whiff of sexual impropriety apparently affected his leadership ability and he resigned. Good grief! Talk about a different world, eh?

Look, in 1969, Charles de Gaulle, the president of France, resigned following his defeat in a constitutional referendum. (Could that ever happen here in the Caribbean?) And Angela Merkel, the leader of the ruling Christian Democratic Union and the Chancellor of Germany, has promised that she will resign all her posts in 2021. Even in Africa, a continent notorious for despots and tyrants and dictators holding on to power for decades, Jacob Zuma resigned as president of South Africa last year, and Robert Mugabe resigned as president of Zimbabwe in 2017. Never mind that the latter was nudged towards the exit after nearly 40 years in power. Seems this thing called power is a helluva thing!

Just ask President Jovenel Moise of Haiti who insists that he will not resign, despite the popular protests against his rule. He insists, in not so many words, that he will have to be dragged from the presidential palace, kicking and screaming and holding on to the golden chandeliers. Never mind that Moise, before he came to power in 2017, headed a company which received more than 33 million Gourdes to do a piece of road work, though his company did nothing but grow bananas. Of course, this sounds so familiar, albeit with creative twists, to so many of us here in these islands of the Caribbean. Yes, the double-dealing, cronyism, self-dealing, kick-backs, insider-dealing and the sort, are par for the course in the Caribbean. But no one ever resigns! They love power too much! They have drunk of the strong wine and are become intoxicated. They will not easily relinquish it!

In Haiti, the protesters have accused Moise of embezzlement, and he blabs on about the defense of the realm and he will not be deterred from his duty to protect Haiti from criminals, and he is calling on the people to let peace and calm and dialogue prevail. Again, this drivel sounds familiar. Seems the politicians all over the world look to all kinds of bogeymen to justify their hold on power – the CIA, the KGB, Communist elements, anarchists, hooligans, blah, blah, blah. It’s the same playbook! And the people are tired of it!

Here in our fair state, we have had the Odebrecht scandal, the eBooks scandal, the release of prisoners scandal, the failure to account for the Barbuda donations scandal, the ‘shush-shush’ scandals about those who are making money hand-over-fist on every blessed thing that moves in our fair state, the National Housing inability to deliver despite millions of dollars spent scandal, and the soon-to-be-revealed Friars Hill Road and Sir George Walter Highway scandal. But will any of the principals have the decency to resign? Don’t bet on it. Nay, we will hear disingenuous words of contrition, we will also hear words of exoneration and absolution from on high, and ‘abracadabra,’ like magic, the scandal will disappear and the embattled politicos will be free to continue their,  er . . . well, “creative enrichment” for another season.  Life is sweet!

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