He said it with a straight face, and without the slightest trace of irony or qualms of the conscience: that his genius administration, of which he is the self-annointed ‘genius-in-chief,’ was going to deliver unto this road-weary nation, “international standards” roads in one year.
Said the jokemeister Minister of Works, he of unserious ‘happy-talk:’ “We are quite happy with the progress. We secured financing for all the major highways – except All Saints Road, which was our best road at that time – and we are moving from community to community, not doing a little patch here or there, but transforming total communities . . . we believe within the next twelve months the highways will be of an international standard.” Good grief!
This guy is intent on tickling the funny bone, never mind that Antiguans and Barbudans are hardly in the mood for jokes, especially jokes that have to do with the absolutely disgraceful condition of our roadways. Seems, the good Minister of Works is not only tone-deaf, but he is also the ‘dry-joke’ king, in the mold of Jerry Seinfeld. Talk about “ich bin ein narr!”(German, “I am a jester!”)
The thing is that nobody is laughing. Au contraire, Antigua and Barbudans are, for the most part, outraged that the seriously unfunny Minister of Works would trivialize and seek to score cheap political points on so grave a matter as the dreadful condition of our roads. Remember, our roads are arguably one of the greatest sources of angst and frustration. Our vehicles depreciate exponentially on these roads; vehicle repair work on account of the craters and trenches are quite costly. For the Minister to joke about something so nightmarish, speaks to his disconnect from the reality that ordinary people are living, and his rather poor taste.
But he cannot help himself. He has exaggerated the estimated time of completion on almost every blessed thing here in our fair State. For example, just recently, he spoke glibly about the supposed work that was to begin on the St. John’s Magistrates Court. He has also been quite facile on the work on the Nugent Avenue supposed state-of-the-art hospital. The record reflects numerous other instances where he has been . . . well . . . shall we say, estranged from truth and reality. It is his stock in trade. Much as is his easy-breezy use of expressions such as, ‘To be completed in a matter of two three weeks’, ‘It will be finished in a few months,’ blah, blah, blah. The track record on his wonderful pronouncements leaves much to be desired. Exhibits A and B, the Cades Bay Bridge, and the Little Creek Bridge, two monuments to pussyfooting and incompetence. They have been languishing for almost a year in a state of disrepair, a clear and present danger. Talk about inertia in high places! The people ‘Roun South’ ought never to forget how they were disrespected and ignored by this uncaring administration. For shame!
Which brings us to the notion of ‘international standards.’ We recently had two highways turned over to us – the Sir George Walter Highway and the Friars Hill Road – after much aggravation and inconvenience. And an inordinate delay. It was painful. These two road surfaces were supposed to be state-of-the-art highways with modern features. Sadly, all we got were resurfaced roads, some bus shelters, and cheap-looking roundabouts. No drainage. No pedestrian walkways. No bicycle lanes. Sigh! So much for ‘international standards!’
Mind you, the Bahamas Hot Mix (BHM) went way past the announced time of completion, on account of a number of issues, one of which was BHM malingering, and the shortcomings of APUA. It is not difficult to suggest that there is no way on this green earth that the rest of our highways can be completed in one year. Minister Weston knows that, and yet he insists on uttering his inanities, much like the Shakespearean jester – those who made contemporary jokes about people or events. The court jesters were glib and over-the-top, and provided much comic relief to the Elizabethan audiences and readers.
We are not sure if Minister Weston is attempting a reincarnation as the administration’s jester-in-chief. If he is, he has his work cut out for him. After all, he will be facing stiff competition from proven jesters such as his good comrades in high places. Talk about Comedy Central!
Meanwhile, Antiguans and Barbudans are not amused! It is said that ‘laughter is the best medicine,’ but this administration’s pathetic attempt at humour, by way of feel-good pronouncements, is more like wormwood and gall – the fanciful promises never live up to the hype. The jokes nuh sweet!
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