Sunshine, at last!

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So sorry to disappoint you folks who were desperately hoping that the reference to ‘sunshine’ in today’s title had to do with the virtues of ‘transparency’ and ‘forthrightness’ in the way this administration conducts the affairs of state. After all, ‘sunshine’ is the need of the hour. So much of this government’s wheeling and dealing is done in smoky backrooms, with a preponderance of hand-washing and backslapping and a wink and a nod. At least, that is what concerned citizens are left to presume, because every blessed thing that is negotiated or decided is done under cloak of night, and the public is left to surmise as to the amount of chicanery and shenanigans. Needless to say, they often conclude that there is more chicanery and shenanigans in the mortar than the pestle.

What else can explain the ostentatious display of affluence by those in high places – grandiose mansions, vast real estate holdings and business interests, and so on and so forth? How else can one explain the negotiation downward of the eBooks contract from US$350.00 to US$80.00 per laptop? Only the wilfully obtuse would dismiss this . . . er . . . ’discrepancy’ . . . as an honest-to-goodness mistake with no untoward intent! Sigh! Again, all the speculation about this and many other matters shrouded in secrecy would all go away if this administration would only eschew the smoke and mirrors and the gloom of night. Their repeated failure to level with the people, say, on the Barbuda monies received after Hurricane Irma or the Odebrecht affair, speaks volumes as to its willingness to not deny their chicanery but dare the people to prove it. So sad! What have we come to? And we blithely accept this nonsense, this brazen unaccountability!

But we digress. Today we are saluting the government for pledging to finish the Sunshine Car Park on Independence Avenue. Whew! It’s about time! We will not rehash the details of how we got to this point with a hulking eyesore-of-a-structure sitting unfinished at the eastern entrance to our once-beautiful city. Suffice it to say, it was a blot on our government for neglecting to complete it some five years after its election. What a colossal waste! And what an awful threat to life and limb! This place was a breeding ground for vermin, and was home to dogs and vagrants. The unsanitary conditions were a clear and present hazard, not to mention a security risk. Miscreants could easily have accosted a lone late-night female (or male) and had his or her way with the victim within the accursed walls of that hub. God only knows the many unsavory (and criminal) activities that have taken place there.

Why this government did not seem to want to address the completion of the Sunshine Hub as a matter of urgency is a head-scratcher. After all, a great deal of the structural work had already been completed. Moreover, with parking at a premium in the Central Business District (CBD) of St. John’s, it struck us as a no-brainer for the government to finish the hub and begin collecting the significant revenue that it would generate. Consider, on any given weekday, upwards of 150 cars can be seen parked next to the Little Country Pond west of the Rising Sun Cricket Grounds, at the Public Library, and in the area just south of the Antigua Recreation Grounds. At five dollars per day, those 150 cars would inject $195,000.00 annually into the treasury. Not to mention, there would be a revitalization of St. John’s proper since more businesses would reopen in many of the buildings that now stand shuttered because of our parking problem. Yes, the hub would also contribute to a significant increase in air quality as a result of the reduced congestion. And yes, other revenues could be generated from the boutiques and stalls at the hub that could now be rented to small business owners and entrepreneurs. It is a win-win for all.

Of course, as with many grand promises by this administration, we have to believe it when we see it. You see, this administration can talk a good show, but when it comes to execution and delivery, there is much to be desired. (See the ADOMS building). Plus, there is the recurring decimal of contracts and deals being shrouded in . . . well . . . ‘darkness’ – the place where much of this government’s activities reside! For once, we trust that the veil of darkness will be lifted at the Sunshine Hub completion effort, and that the light of day will prevail! Oh for the kiss of sunlight!

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