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The Opposition in Da House

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With the dramatic arrival of the United Progressive Party’s (UPP) cadre of young, smart, indomitable Members of Parliament, Da House will be anything but business as usual. It will get hot up in there. After all, these bright young men will not allow themselves to be pushed around or bullyragged by the slothful and uninspiring Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) with their razor-thin, one-seat majority. MP ‘Single Pringle,’ and MP Trevor Walker will no longer be the lonesome voices “crying in the wilderness” on the Opposition bench. Nay, they will be joined by our no-nonsense young men who will take the fight to the moribund ABLP MP’s, dishing out as good as they get.

Heretofore, Parliament in Antigua and Barbuda was a pappy-show, a sycophantic gathering of “yes” men and “yes” women – each mindlessly echoing the Administration’s line, like rats following and dancing to the tune of the Pied Piper of Hamlin. How pathetic!

Heretofore, it was always quite off-putting to see the Parliamentary majority giggling amongst themselves, high-fiving each other in fatuous displays of mutual admiration and praise. They shared inside snide remarks with each other, and applauded the supposedly clever swipes and broadsides at the Opposition. Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey, they of circus renown, were always proud of the Incumbency’s clowning in Parliament.

Consider, if you will, how the Clown in Chief pranced around in the chamber last week with a silly smirk on his face, trying his best to appear his bold, brash, confident self. For example, instead of behaving in a gracious, gentlemanly and Statesmanlike manner, as befitted the pomp and circumstance of the occasion, he danced and pranced around like a little girl, with his hands clasped in a phony and  tiresome display of respect.  He dismissively waved away the UPP spectators in the gallery, and then blew a kiss to the ABLP supporters on the other side. And then later in the proceedings, again much like a little girl, he mockingly stuck his tongue at the Opposition supporters, as if to say, “Ah baaaaay!” Sigh! When will this guy grow up and act like a man?

Needless to say, all his antics fell flat. Notwithstanding his over-the-top show of bravado, he is quaking and trembling inside.  He knows that his hold on power is tenuous, at best. He knows that he can no longer bullyrag his colleagues, excoriating and publicly humiliating them, lest they defect. To be sure, from here on, observers will notice that he will be referring to them with much deference and respect.

Of course, last week’s Parliamentary tomfoolery often reminded us of the words of Sir Oliver Cromwell who denounced the Rump Parliament on April 20, 1653 with these stinging words, “You have sat here too long for any good that you have been doing lately . . . . in the name of God, go! Let us have done with you!” Hmmmm! So familiar, eh? Many of the sitting MP’s on the government side of the aisle have been there too long. They have outlived their usefulness, and are at the point of diminishing returns. It is still a head-scratcher as to why some folks felt that it was a good idea to return these political anachronisms to office. Many of them were doing the bare minimum before the last election, and it is highly unlikely that they will be motivated to do anything meaningful or substantial in the months ahead. You can call it pre-retirement leave, they are merely fattening their nest eggs.

We salute MPs Trevor Walker, Asot Michael, Algernon ‘Serpent’ Watts, Jamale Pringle, Sherfield Bowen, Anthony Smith, Kelvin Simon and Richard Lewis. We are especially proud of our Managing Director, The Mighty Serpent, because according to legend, it was He of a High Place who had taken to goading Serpent with a challenge to shut-up and stop criticising, and enter Parliament. Serpent, being Serpent, could not resist such a challenge. He threw his hat into the ring, and the rest is history. He of a High Place will forever kick himself and be haunted by his own big mouth and his misguided challenge to Serpent. Serpent wanted to make a difference; he wanted something better for all Antiguans and Barbudans, and he felt that the ruling ABLP was short-changing the people. He will continue being an advocate for good governance, transparency and accountability, not only in the media, but in Parliament and in his Constituency.

So too will all the Opposition Members of Parliament. They will breathe new life into the Parliamentary proceedings. It will be a breath of fresh air. Many folks who had long turned away from watching or listening to Parliament have indicated that will return with renewed interest. Seems, our Parliamentary Democracy is alive and well. Big-up to the Opposition, who, by the way, won the popular vote. All hail!

MP Trevor Walker, and Opposition Leader Jamale Pringle, held the fort admirably in Parliament these past five years. They acquitted themselves well, and we are grateful. Even after yesterday’s Throne Speech, they rightfully dismissed it as ‘the same ole, same ole;’ much ado about nothing. Kudos. The Opposition ranks have now swelled appreciably, and we will not be playing footsie and hopscotch with the Incumbency. Let it be known, the Opposition is in Da House!

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