It left many of us slack-jawed, though not terribly surprised. We’re talking about the damning remarks by He of a High Place that the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) had finagled the last election. In not so many words, they had committed fraud. This writer had already heard word that folks were moved from one constituency where the Labour Party was considered strong (by virtue /vice of their inducements), into a neighbouring constituency where the Labour Party candidate was deemed to be on shaky ground. Voila! The Labour Party candidate won his seat by a handful of votes.
Wha can go so? Nobody with any modicum of sense could ever believe that the slothful, uncaring, incompetent Labour Party candidate in that particular constituency, who had done absolutely nothing for his constituents, beat the United Progressive Party (UPP) candidate, fair and square. It had to be the result of skullduggery. Alas and alack! He of a High Place, in what can only be described as a Freudian slip, confirmed our worst fears and suspicions. This election was rife with shenanigans.
But don’t take our word for it. Here is his Royal Highness uttering a confessional, in a rare moment of candour and forthrightness: “ . . . Some ah-dem fell literally to the wayside, and lost their seats, you know, if they had gone out there and fought within their constituencies, they would have stood a better chance . . . what the UPP skillfully did, leading up to the last election, cause they recognised that I was blazing them, and probably was one of the strongest voices out there, I was blazing them, they didn’t like it . . .. so they tried to subdue me by having these almost clandestine discussions, is only after the elections got close, and even during the count when they felt that they were winning, that they start to attack me and say, ‘Oh, is because of the Prime Minister, is the way how he behave’, . . . whatever . . . is 67 percent of the vote I got in my constituency without any effort, you know, I didn’t campaign, you know, I didn’t transfer people into my constituency, you know, we transferred out, to help other candidates, or, left others who were registered outside of my area, left them in those areas rather than transfer them in, to give others a better chance . . .” OUCH! From his lips to the ears of the Almighty.
Again, we are not terribly surprised. We knew that the only way that this feckless failure-of-an-administration could win another term was by subterfuge. The people of Antigua and Barbuda were so very fed-up with this incumbency, and they turned out on January 18, to send them on an extended/permanent leave of absence. Most of those who retained their seats, did so by means of uh . . . ‘creative re-election.’ (Wink, wink).
In the closing days of the campaign, they cancelled their public meetings and rallies because they were too ashamed and embarrassed to let Antiguans and Barbudans see the pathetic numbers that were turning out. Remember, they had to pay people to attend their unimpressive motorcade. It stands to reason therefore, that if they were to get huge crowds at their pappy-show campaign meetings, they were going to have to pay their mercenary supporters to show up. This is what the ABLP has been reduced to – political whoremongering – they have to pay dearly for love.
Of course, we believe that those in High Places who oversaw this election, should come to the citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, after conducting an investigation into the very disturbing remarks by He of a High Place. Some are suggesting that they all should resign. And if they have any shame at all, they would. They did not do right by this fair State of ours – not with their ‘see no evil,’ ‘hear no evil,’ ‘think no evil’ stance on every matter having to do with this past election. Sigh! We deserved better.
All citizens of goodwill should be very concerned. After all, were it not for the hanky-panky in some of the constituencies, this raggedy administration would have lost this election. And that’s a fact! Remember, they only have a one-seat majority in Parliament, hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Clearly, we wuz robbed! The people of Antigua and Barbuda were robbed. Our children and their future have been shortchanged, albeit for a while, because we do not believe that this bungling administration will survive for the next five years. Not at the rate at which it is screwing things up. All NGO’s and other civic bodies should speak out on this electoral rip-off. The Bar Association should express its concern as well. (fat chance). The churches should also lift their voices in a cry for “Justice to run down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
So too should the rest of the body politic. In a day of outrage!
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