The dog ate our homework

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We are all familiar with the excuse that schoolchildren all over the world seem fond of offering for their failure to complete their homework assignment – “Teacher, the dog ate my homework.” It is rather lame, and most teachers never buy it. Which is sometimes unfortunate, because in our case here in the political realm in Antigua and Barbuda, the dog – the ‘Top Dawg,’ as he grandiosely describes himself, did in fact eat our homework.

Seems, in a bit of a twist, we have the United Progressive Party (UPP) doing all of its homework these past two years – meeting with the people, ascertaining what their needs and concerns are, and coming up with practical and feasible plans and solutions to meet those needs, and this pathetic ‘Top Dawg,’ appropriates the UPP’s homework, and shamelessly presents it as his own. Tsk! Tsk! His brass-face, coupled with his desperation, knows no bounds.

But who would have thunk’d it? That the smartest Dawg in the room would resort to swiping the ideas and proposed policies of the Opposition Party – a Party that he mindlessly denigrates? Apparently, he’d been barking up the wrong tree all along, trying to intimidate those who see him for what he really is – a pretentious poodle, ridden with fleas, and bereft of workable ideas, and a modicum of caring for Antigua and Barbuda. Woof! Woof! But stand your ground, folks. This poodle’s bark is much worse than his bite, never mind the sign, BEWARE OF DOG! The only thing that one will be getting from this dog is fleas, and of course, the slack-jaw associated with him slinking around and swiping yet another morsel of UPP ideas.

Here is what The Dog recently gobbled up. The Political Leader of the UPP, Mr Harold Lovell, unveiled the ONE CARIBBEAN plan at the mammoth UPP Tired and Fed-Up Rally in the St John’s City East Constituency, this past Thursday evening. Said Lovell, “I say to you, Brothers and Sisters, that we are going to introduce what we call the ‘One Caribbean’ Act. Now what is this ‘One Caribbean’ Act? I want you to understand that they have a thing they call the CSME. Yuh ever hear dem talk bout the CSME? The Caribbean Single Market and Economy? Well, under the CSME, once you have a skills certificate, you can come to Antigua, no matter where in the Caribbean you’re from, once you have the skills certificate, you can come to Antigua. Now, if you’re from the OECS – Grenada, St Vincent, St Lucia, Dominica – if you’re from the OECS, when you come to Antigua, you don’t need any work permit. . . .  But what about those Jamaicans, and those Guyanese, and those from the Dominican Republic? They have been living with us, in some cases they have children here, they pay Social Security, they pay Medical Benefits, they pay Education Levy, they pay all their taxes, they live among us peacefully,  we say, if you were living in Antigua on the 31st of December 2022, within the first month of a UPP Administration, come in and cancel your work permit. NO MORE WORK PERMIT IF YOU HAVE BEEN LIVING IN THIS COUNTRY!  If you’ve been living in this country, we are saying that you are our Brothers and Sisters. One Caribbean! So the same benefits that we give to the OECS, we are going to give those benefits, to the Jamaicans, Guyanese, and the Spanish who have been with us . . .” Needless to say, this visionary and progressive proposal was met with approbation and applause.

Actually, when this writer heard the Political Leader’s presentation on this immigration matter, I could not help but think back on the late Black Stalin’s (RIP) piece de resistance, CARIBBEAN UNITY. Sang Stalin, “ . . . Mister West Indian politician / I mean yuh went to big institution / And how come you cyah unite seven million / When ah West Indian unity, I know is very easy / If you only rap to yuh people and tell dem like me, dem is… / [CHORUS] One race (de Caribbean man) / From de same place (de Caribbean man) / Dat make de same trip (de Caribbean man) / On de same ship (de Caribbean man) / So we must push one common intention / Is for a better life in de region / For we woman, and we children / Dat must be de ambition of de Caribbean man / De Caribbean man, de Caribbean man.” Indeed! As Lord Nelson, another great calypsonian from that era declares in his ALL AH WE IS ONE FAMILY: “Rubbing shoulder all together / Poopa, gangan, tantie, macomere, pickney / Bound together, one another / Nothing could separate we from since in slavery . . .” I was moved.

So too, was the Top Dog who pricked up his ears. In about forty-eight hours after the grand UPP immigration proposal, the top canine shamelessly ate the whole thing, ‘hook, line and sinker,’ literally, word for word. Good grief! What a thing! Clearly, an Administration that is ‘pooped’, a spent force, will snatch at anything to pretend at being a caring, integrationalist government, much like Mr Lovell who spoke of “Easing the squeeze on our Caribbean brothers and sisters.” In fact, the Top Dog’s drivel said, “In keeping with Antigua and Barbuda’s commitment to the economic integration of the Caribbean region blah, blah, blah. . . .”  So phony and disingenuous! This was the same Administration that rudely told our Caribbean Brothers and Sisters that if they are out of work here, they should go back to the lands from whence they came. This was the same Administration that raised the work permit fees in 2018 on those who emigrated here from Jamaica, Guyana, and the Dominican Republic, in search of a better life. This Administration is given to tricking and double-crossing our Caribbean brothers and sisters. Just ask one of those in a High Place who wanted to “extend our exclusion from implementing a CARICOM decision to add beauticians, barbers, security officers, and agricultural workers to the list of persons able to freely move under the CSME.” [THE DAILY OBSERVER, Monday January 9, 2023, Government piggy-backs UPP’s campaign proposal . . . pg4]. Sigh!

Of course, the UPP did not miss the opportunity to declare that the appropriation of its latest immigration proposal “Is accepted by the UPP as validation of its Political Leader’s vision and ideas, and proof that it is the UPP who is poised to take this country to an elevated level.” Hear, hear, hear! In the meantime, as the UPP continues unveiling more of its grand ideas for a betterment here in Antigua and Barbuda, especially all the ideas in its SEVEN PILLARS manifesto, we know that the Top Dog will lap his tail between his legs and grab at them. Woof, woof, woof!  Talk aboutgiving a dog a bone.

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