The wind of change is a-blowing

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 First, let us congratulate Dr Terrance Drew and the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) on their outright win at last Friday’s polls in the Federation of St Kitts-Nevis. The SKNLP snagged six seats out of eight on St Kitts, while Dr Timothy Harris, the former Prime Minister of the outgoing People’s Labour Party (PLP), prevailed in his constituency, as did Shawn Richards of the People’s Action Movement (PAM). On Nevis, Mark Brantley’s Concerned Citizens Movement captured all three seats.

To be sure, the stunning rejection of the good Dr Harris comes on the heels of a ‘no-confidence’ motion filed by his erstwhile Cabinet colleagues that forced him to call the early elections. Sigh! Behold folks, what ‘badmindedness’ and bad blood hath wrought in Sugar City. The internal feuding caused the collapse of the so-called Team Unity coalition of the good doctor, some three years before elections were constitutionally due.

Of course, we here in Antigua and Barbuda have our own feuding personalities in the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP). Not that many Antiguans and Barbudans outside of the ABLP care much that he of a high place, and the former financier and kingmaker of the ABLP are at each other’s throats. Indeed, we say, “Let them have at each other,” because we subscribe to the notion that, “When rogues and thieves fall out, just men get their desserts.” In any event, the salacious charges and counter charges being hurled about by the erstwhile comrades who can no longer stand each other, make for cheap and tawdry political theatre, never mind that some very serious questions may have to be answered in the not-too-distant future. Moreover, the incumbent member of the constituency in question, knows where the so-called bodies are buried, after all, he was a ranking member of the ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ where all the red herrings were cooked, and there is a thinking in the minds of some political pundits that he is biding his time before releasing a bombshell or two. Stay tuned for more on the nasty feud between he of a high place and his former chief supporter.

As you can imagine, Antiguans and Barbudans are so very tired of the vitriol and the nastiness against friend and foe alike from he of a high place. We yearn for a kinder gentler political discourse, and we know that such comity will never come to pass under this leadership and this administration. We welcome the wind of change which is a-blowing. We are so fed-up!

Interestingly, so were the people of St Lucia where they booted out the reactionary and feeble Allen Chastanet United Workers Party administration at this time last year, after one forgettable term in office. Philip Pierre is the new Prime Minister. In Grenada, the people had grown quite tired of Keith Mitchell and they rejected his party at the polls, just over a month ago. Dickon Mitchell of the National Democratic Congress is the new Prime Minister. And then of course, we saw what happened this past Friday in St Kitts. The people of the region are tired of the old guard and the incumbencies. They were hardly impressed by their stewardship, these past few years.

So too, here in Antigua and Barbuda, where we have ‘had it up to here’ with the foul-mouthed utterances from those in high places, and the daily diet of bs (bovine scatology), from the administration. The incumbency is bereft of ideas to move this country forward. We are now in the doldrums, and nothing meaningful is happening here in our fair State. Hence, desperation talk about Antigua Airways. In that regard, we are warning Antiguans and Barbudans to not be fooled by this administration for yet a third time. Remember the old maxim, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me . . . fool me three times, then I need to have my head examined.” Folks, we are not masochists and gluttons for punishment. We must needs get up and run away from this vicious, self-serving administration.

Take a peek, if you will, at Singing Francine’s 1978 hit, RUN AWAY. The message is instructive: “You went and you put gold ring on she hand / You boastin in tong dat you is she man / She say dat you love she, burstin wid joy, she give you a baby boy / Little did she know you wanted a maid / Yuh next lady fren could’n mek de grade / Now, she siddong and wonderin what to do / How to get away, how to get away, how to get away from you . . CHORUS Dog does run away, fowl does run away . . .  when yuh treat dem bad . . . . Wha happen to you? You could run away too.”Of course, our recent history is replete with shocking examples of the bad treatment meted out to us from this administration – from the countless lies and half-truths and broken promises, to outright neglect. Not to mention, downright rudeness. For shame.

 Meanwhile, in the interest of time, here is one shocking example of the brutish and insensitive way in which this administration has treated us. We’re talking about the police brutality visited on the peaceful, law-abiding citizens of this fair State who were subjected to tear gas canisters and rubber bullets, exactly a year ago today on Market Street, next to the Sir V C Bird bust. It was a day that will long live in infamy. They were simply exercising their right, “peaceably to assemble for a redress of grievances,” they were simply wanted their voices on mandates to be heard, and this piggish administration decided to snuff them out. Amidst the lingering smoke from the tear gas, darkness descended on Antigua and Barbuda.  We shall never forget that atrocity!

But there is a wind of change a-blowing. It will blow away tear gas and brutal police boots chasing innocent protesters, as they did one year ago. It will blow away cus words and childishness from those in high places. It will blow away malfeasance and unaccountability. It will blow away the bad treatment dished out to Mary Valdez of Point and the four young entrepreneurs from Parham. Not forgetting the young entrepreneur from East Country Pond, Natural Livity. It will blow away the unbearable water situation, and the shameful fire tender debacle, never mind the boastful promise about four/five new fire tenders. It will blow away incompetence (See the Minister responsible for the Blue Economy), and laziness and indifference (See the Minister of Information), and those who have outlived their usefulness, precious little that it once was, (See the Minister of Health and the Minister responsible for the failed APUA), and sweet-talkin, but little else of substance (See the Attorney General), and ineffectiveness and uninspiring leadership in agriculture (See the Minister of Agriculture) and a ‘Deluxe’ windfall for his family, but nothing for the people of his neglected constituency (See the Minister of Tourism), and apathy and neglect, except if it is of some benefit to himself (the Minister of Happiness), and absenteeism and ‘do-nothingness’ (See the neophyte Minister of Lands), and so on and so forth . . . You get the idea. This is a roster full of unimpressive and mediocre men and women. The time has come for them to all be replaced. WE DESERVE BETTER THAN WHAT THEY HAVE TO OFFER!!! Let us not short-change ourselves by putting them back for another five-year ride on their merry-go-round.

Oh, haste, that fair wind of change! The people of St Lucia, Grenada and St Kitts have shown great and admirable resolve in ridding themselves of their ineffective and self-interested administrations. May we take a leaf from their books! Oh, haste, that breath of fresh air!

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