The contrast is striking in this election campaign. Seems, much like the Biblical story of David versus Goliath, the two major parties in our fair State are arrayed against each other. Much like Goliath, the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) is full of braggadocio and hot air, spouting all sorts of inflammatory and venomous rhetoric, belittling its opponents and promising to crush the Opposition. They are highly delusional. The ABLP, in its desperation, and its increasing sense of inadequacy, is busy posting campaign paraphernalia in the bush, on lampposts, and every which where. It is manifest overkill, and a naked and exaggerated attempt to cover up its many, many failures. It is painfully aware that it has run out of time.
On the other hand, much like the understated, but quietly confident, David, the United Progressive Party (UPP) is busy engaging the people and providing a number of realistic solutions and ideas to move Antigua and Barbuda forward. No over-the-top unrealistic nonsense like the vain promise made several years ago to fix our water woes in fourteen days. That whopper has to go down in the history book of political whoppers as one of the biggest and most fatuous.
Mercifully, that sleight of hand will not succeed again. That much was evident in this past Sunday’s mammoth Relief and Recovery motorcade staged by the UPP. As reported in one of yesterday’s DAILY OBSERVER headline stories, a “sea of blue” swept over our fair State on Sunday, as Antiguans and Barbudans took to the streets in their vehicles in overwhelming numbers. From ‘sea to shining sea’ they came, honking their horns, waving their flags and other UPP paraphernalia, and lifting their voices, denouncing this pathetic incumbency, and expressing their hope for a fairer and brighter future under Mr Harold Lovell and the Redeem Team. The mood was ebullient, and the excited crowds of bystanders waved, and danced, and blew kisses, and cheered-on the motorcaders. As a clearly ecstatic Senator Shawn Nicholas, the General Secretary of the UPP exclaimed on yesterday’s VOICE OF THE PEOPLE broadcast, “The turnout exceeded our expectations . . .” Indeed!
Of course, the incumbency will stage its own motorcade featuring an abundance of lights, bells and whistles. They will pay people to wear their T-shirts, even as the incumbency fills their personal and rented vehicles with gas. They will provide food and other inducements for people to join their pappy-show motorcade. There will be an abundance of red flags and other election paraphernalia affixed to vehicles, and there will be much tumult and noise. Nonetheless, never mind the contrived show of bravado, it will not mask the shallowness and emptiness of it all. Deep in the hearts of Those in High Places is the knowledge that many of the people in their motorcade are there only on account of something personal that they can get. They are not true believers in the Party and its message, such as it is. Indeed, the true believers have long since lost faith in the incumbency. The trust that they once had in this Administration has been shattered. What with so many broken promises, and so many ground-fakings (See Sir Lester Bird and his stinging criticism of He of a High Place), and so many incomplete projects. They will roar like Scar, the phony lion king. They will huff and puff like the big, bad wolf. They will cuss and denigrate like Goliath. They will threaten to “tump people in their faces.” Ooooohhhhh! We’re so scared! NOT!
The Antigua Barbuda Labour Party is a spent force. It has run out of steam. It is an empty vessel making the most noise. But nobody is listening. The juggernaut that it once was is no more. This was evident in every corner of Antigua that we traversed yesterday during the motorcade. In times past, with beaucoup money to throw around, most of the roads in Antigua would have already been filled with sugar cake in time for the election. Broken sidewalks would have been repaired. Street lights would have already been installed and lit up. There would be work crews cutting the overgrowth at the sides of the roads. And yes, as He of a High Place promised earlier this year, the water situation would be significantly improved in time for the end of this past year. Sigh! Nothing has happened, and nothing is happening. Everything is stalled. Perhaps the many benefactors of this Administration are also disappointed in this Administration. Perhaps they too have been lied to. They are therefore sitting on their wallets. We don’t blame them.
Here’s a snippet of what we discovered in a small corner of Antigua yesterday. The road leading from Tyrell’s Roman Catholic Church into Swetes is horrible. In fact, all the roads in Swetes are a nightmare. The Urlings Primary School looks dilapidated. The basketball court is overrun with bush, and the backboards have disappeared. The Cades Bay Bridge is still not yet fixed, never mind that our road crews spent time, money and effort digging up Sir Sydney Walling Highway and installing culverts these past two weeks. In aid of what, we ask? The Sir Sydney Walling Highway is now a disfigured mess, just a few weeks after it was resurfaced. The roads in Bendals are treacherous, and the basketball court next to the Bendals Primary School is in the same condition as that in Urlings. The Police Station in Bolans is still unfinished, never mind the grandiose promises of Those in High Places. The hulking, rusting steel structure that was supposed to be a grand hotel on the Valley Church Road, just outside of the entrance to Jolly Beach, is still an unfinished eyesore. The Crabbe Hill Road is still unfinished, a clear and present danger, and the Little Creek Bridge looks trashy and unkempt. The Darkwood Beach road with its concrete stanchions and protective boulders looks like it could use some TLC.
Look folks, we could go on and on and on with the glaring signs of ineptitude and mismanagement on the part of this Administration, but that would be superfluous. You have gotten the point. Monday’s island-wide motorcade revealed scores of reasons why the people of Antigua and Barbuda ought not to give Those in High Places another term to further destroy the little that is left of fair Antigua and Barbuda. NOT THEM AGAIN! (Chuckle). Seems, notwithstanding their helmets, shields and spears, notwithstanding all their bluster, and all the fancy paraphernalia, and free concerts, purchased with much money, (Way more money than David’s pennies) (It will be interesting to see how much money per vote this campaign will cost this pathetic Administration, aka Goliath). Seems, when all is said and done, the UPP David will prevail.
Thoughts and views expressed in guest opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Observer Newsco, its management or staff.