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Sunday, 25 July, 2021
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The word on the street

The word on the street is that the ruling Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) is conducting polls to gauge the sentiment of the people in a number of constituencies.  This is perhaps an early sign that elections are in the offing. Of course, for world-weary and frustrated Antiguans and Barbudans, the next election cannot come soon enough. The people are sorely disappointed, and much disillusionment has set in. This is an administration that was granted a second term with so much promise, but it has produced so precious little.

As you can imagine, the temptation will be there to pin the blame for the shocking underperformance of this administration on the pandemic, but that argument will not suffice.  The regime was already running on fumes prior to Covid-19, and with the very first puff from the virus, it was down for the count.  Since that time, it has only gone downhill – pensioners are crying out for their monies, as are so many entities that cannot get their remuneration for services rendered to this deadbeat regime. And don’t talk about the nurses. We feel their pain.

Mind you, it was the good Minister of Works, who, at the opening of the new treasury building on Independence Avenue, told the treasury workers to be as nice as possible to the people coming for their monies because the government owes a lot of people, and the government does not have the money to pay them. This was long before Covid-19 – from a government that was reaping a windfall from the Citizenship by Investment Programme.

And remember, again, even before Covid-19, work on the Sunshine Hub Car Park had stalled, as has work on the supposed state-of-the-art hospital on Nugent Avenue. They are now both overrun with vermin and bush, monuments to failure.

Meanwhile, potholes are ubiquitous, the rehabilitation work on Friars Hill Road and the Sir George Walter Highway both have a shoddy and unfinished quality to them – not even a bit of landscaping and beautification at the new roundabouts, or at the sides, or the culverts. Folks, it is now axiomatic that this administration is given to the sort of mediocrity and half-measures seen in so much of what it does and tolerates.

To be sure, a great deal of the malaise has to do with the unfortunate crop of representatives with which we are saddled, much like a millstone about out necks. The member of Parliament for St. Peter, is distracted by internecine issues, and the good member for All Saints West has some legal entanglements that could also prove quite distracting. Not that the latter will be missed. He did very little in real terms for the people in his constituency. Ditto, the good member from St. John’s Rural West. The long-suffering people in that constituency have concluded that their votes for him were in fact votes wasted.  Ditto, the equally good member from St George. Talk about being AWOL! This gentleman has made a virtue out of absenteeism and indifference. His neglect is mind-boggling. So too, the pathetic representation in St John’s Rural North where the potholed roads are nightmarish, and a metaphor for the inordinate lack of caring by the representative. The same can be said of the youngsters in the Cabinet – the Minister of Sports, and Education, and the aforementioned Minister of Works. They do not even bother to pretend that they are representing the people. And so it goes, an entire administration that has fallen fast asleep during the pandemic. Their brains have atrophied.

        Of course, it happened long ago with the dinosaurs in this regime. Just look at the good minister up East. He is merely treading water and collecting his fat salary, performing the bare minimum to get by. Schoolchildren have often said that if Columbus were to return to Antigua, he would immediately recognise that long-abandoned constituency. Talk about the good ol’ grey matter on pre-retirement leave!

Not that the grey matter was of much use to this sorry lot. After all, the word on the street is that the good leader of those in high places does all the doing and thinking for them. The schoolchildren suggest that when he wants their opinion, he gives it to them. Good grief!

So, it’s a watershed moment here in our fair State. The sense is that we cannot afford five more years of this underwhelming administration. If we think that things are bad now, we must pause and ponder how much worse they could get, if this administration is granted a free hand with five more long years. Perish the thought! As Oliver Cromwell declared in his denunciation of the Rump parliamentarians in 1623: “It is high time for [us] to put an end to you sitting in this place which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice . . .Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government. Ye . . . would like Esau, sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas, betray [us] for a few pieces of money. . . Which of you have not bartered your conscience? . . . Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of [this country]? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You, who were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.” Sigh! May we be similarly imbued with wisdom from on high!We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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