The scholars in Parliament

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The embarrassing way in which this incumbency has been exposed reminds us of the Holy Scriptures, and the line from Hosea 8:7: “They have sown the wind, they are now reaping the whirlwind.” This simply means that the brilliant intellectuals in our Parliament have engaged in a great deal of mental gymnastics, that mean nothing to anybody but themselves, and they are now suffering the dreadful consequences. Notwithstanding ‘the exuberance of their verbosity’ (Eg: Minister Weston. He fulminates frequently in Parliament), they have neglected the people, neglected their constituents, spread lies and false information, refused to honour pledges to make unemployed workers whole (see Jolly Beach and LIAT), made grandiose promises that they had no intention of keeping, unleashed tear gas on those innocents who merely wanted to have their voices heard, and so on and so forth. In the final analysis, it is manifest that this Administration has not done right by the people. They have neglected the things that they ought to have done. But they are so very ‘qualified’ whatever the hell that means.

Having said that, it is rather amusing to see how they are suddenly running around Antigua and Barbuda like chickens without heads, in the weeks and months leading up to the imminent election. The many things that they so wilfully and wantonly neglected to do, they are now doing post haste. Roads are being repaired and culverts are being built. Bridges are also being constructed, never mind that we understand that they have run out of money on the Anchorage Road. So the work there languishes, ‘half-arse!’ Grass and bush are being cut, never mind that Friars Hill Road and the Old Parham Road look like jungles out of Jurassic Park. They are so ‘qualified!’

Of course, one of the most noticeable changes is that whereas heretofore it was next to impossible to reach a sitting ‘qualified’ Parliamentary Representative on the phone, these days, these charlatans are picking up calls on the very first ring. And they feign interest in what you are talking about. And yes, these days, they move hell and high water to resolve that which vexes you. After all, they have an election to win. Try reaching them after they have been reelected. No such luck. It will be a return to the status quo ante.

Folks, we are tired of politics as usual, and these eminently ‘qualified’ politicians. These people in high places have failed us miserably. They do not deserve another term in office. We are tired of the bs and the run around.  Tired of the disregard and the disrespect. We would be doing ourselves a grave disservice if we lose the care of our brains and return them to office. They are unworthy!

Consider, if you will, this example of how little they think of us. The benches on Independence Avenue, between the historic Country Pond and the famous YMCA grounds, have been in a woeful state of disrepair for the past eight years. We have put out calls for this pathetic Administration to do something about them. After all, they can no longer be used as seats so that weary folks could take a load off their feet. Plus, they are such a dreadful eyesore on what is arguably our busiest thoroughfare here in Antigua. Some of our biggest institutions are on Independence Avenue – Government House, a Social Security office, the historic Roman Catholic Church (never mind that it looks horrible), the cenotaph, the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) building and the Government Treasury. A handsome three-storey building is currently being put up on the top of Redcliffe Street. And right next door is the unfinished Sunshine Hub Car Park (this Administration should be ashamed of itself for making so many grand pronouncements about the car park, and delivering on not one of them). What the hell would it cost this ‘poor-boast’ Administration to install new benches on Independence Avenue? Not much, we submit. But they seem not to care one whit about aesthetics, and the value of having decent rest areas for road-weary sojourners. Clearly, this is an Administration that is sorely lacking!

Those in high places are facing their biggest test yet. After all, they have not distinguished themselves in office these past eight years, never mind all the wonderful letters behind their names, and they are all now revealed to be men and women of straw – empty suits! They have absolutely nothing to campaign on – their record of accomplishment is paper thin, and they seem tired and uninspired.

If these are all ‘qualified’ men and women, then heaven help us! Seems, we need less lettered men and women as our representatives. Seems, all you need to be a good representative of the people is that you have a kind and caring heart. You are concerned about improving the lives of your countrymen. You are not self-centered! And you have the vision and the will to make good things happen, for God and country.

Having said that, here are excerpts from the Mighty Chalkdust’s THE QUALIFICATIONS OF A POLITICIAN. He heaps much derision and scorn on the studied and lettered incumbent Trinidad politicians of his day: “You must swear on Bible and take false oath  / You must use big words to get people vote  / You must lie and watch me straight in de eye  / You must shun people when election done  / You must go to the school of selfishness and learn how to be dishonest  / You must go to the school of scampishness, and like Judas learn how to cheat with a kiss  / You must part with yuh good friend Ramnath and call him a bloody upstart / You must hate roti and still hug-up de roti man  / A politician is a special breed of man with a special personality  / He will promise you Paradise and the Promised Land and after election he knows nobody / Although they are unfit, he will put square peg in roun hole / He’ll give his party members cars, house, jobs and big role / He shows no pity for vagrants and poor humans  / You must see two people on one hospital bed, and just pass through and nod your head / You must talk big Queen English in parliament and curse obscene as you reach de pavement / You must tiff and jail a man if he tek a leaf  / You must sell your soul cheaply for a position in de party  / You must be a yes-man, and like Dona Waugh, resign only after you get your pension . . .  .” Good grief! These dubious qualifications sound so familiar. Maybe it it better that we have unschooled and unlettered representatives – people with a heart and a soul.

Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are pulling on their beards!

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