Karl Malone, he of the Utah Jazz basketball team from the eighties and nineties, was dubbed ‘The Mailman,’ on account of the fact that he always seemed to deliver a scored basket, whenever one was needed. He was unfailingly reliable. If a ball was passed to ‘The Mailman,’ there was every likelihood that it would result in two points. Here in Antigua and Barbuda, we have the antithesis to The Mailman. We have an administration that NEVER delivers.
The silky-smooth words of those in high places are not worth a cup of warm spit, and they remind us of that which was once said of a character in Shakespeare’s MERCHANT OF VENICE: “Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all of Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff: you search all day ere you find them; and when you have them, they are not worth the search.” Ouch! Talk about hot air! It is the stock in trade of those in this feeble administration.
A few days ago, the good Minister of Works waxed lyrical about the repair work to the Crabbe Hill crater that has been sitting in the roadway for the past several weeks, a clear and present threat to life and limb. As is his wont, he predicted that the repair work will be completed in a month’s time. Sigh! Count us among the skeptics who do not believe a blessed word of what he has said. He is famous, or rather infamous, for rosy predictions that NEVER materialise.
Another of like ilk is the scribe who pens the Cabinet notes. We all know who he is – a fine writer with the gift of gab and a way with words. Nonetheless, he will never let the truth get in the way of a ‘Nancy story that shades the administration in a favourable light. For example, we read in the Cabinet notes, over a year ago, that all was well with the fifth pier, and that we were awaiting the imminent arrival of an Oasis-class vessel to test the turning channel and the berthing facilities. Sigh! The truth is that the turning channel is not deep enough, and there are tons of hard rock beneath the surface which have been proving to be quite a challenge for our drilling equipment. The latest rosy-tinted prediction is that the fifth pier will be ready for use by the Oasis vessels by early next year. Again, you can count us as ‘Doubting Thomases.’
Then there is the equally fanciful story about a wealthy Citizenship by Investment gentleman who supposedly has the financing and the connections to build a big hotel and conference center here in our fair State. Again, you may refer to us as “Ye of little faith,” and we will wear that moniker as a badge of honour. Based on this administration’s pitiable track record, we have precious little faith that that promised hotel and conference center will become a reality any time soon, if ever.
Then there is the hulking steel frame of what was supposed to be a Best Western Hotel, just east of the Jolly Beach Hotel. It’s rotting superstructure stands as a monument to the failure of this administration to garner the support and the investment necessary to have it completed. What a shame! Seems, investors do not appear to have much confidence in this perfidious and double-talking administration. They are not eager to do business here. Neither would we; at least, not with this bully-ragging regime. Think, ease of doing business, folks!
Of course, we are still scratching our heads at how this ‘poor-boast’ administration has all but abandoned the state-of-the-art hospital on Nugent Avenue. If you recall, it was originally supposed to have been completed in two weeks. Chupz! It’s been many months since that grandiose chatter, and the hospital is still incomplete, lying amidst bush, animal dung and other fecal matter. It is lit up every night like Disney World, another epitaph to failure. So too is the double-decker stand at the Antigua Recreation Grounds. There has been so much talk surrounding its dismantling, and so little action.
And whilst on the question of failed investments, based on what we are seeing, we do not believe that the Western Imperial Special Economic Zone (WISEZ) will amount to much. There is a flurry of activity at present, with much land being cleared, but we are hardly impressed. It is all a bluff! The WISEZ does not appear to be a carefully pondered and detailed plan. If it were, there is no way that their bulldozers would have encroached on private lands in the area on more than one occasion, for example. We believe that WISEZ will go the way of the Special Economic Zone in the North East Marine Management Area, YIDA. Think, “much ado about nothing,” folks! It’s another hare-brained scheme that garnered unbelievable giveaways from our desperate government.
In an article entitled THE DANGERS OF OVERPROMISING, Jonathan Herrick writes, “We’ve all heard the saying, ‘Act now, apologize later.’ In fact, a lot of us might even live by that motto, believing that our intuitions know best, and that if things don’t pan out later, we can always apologize and make up for everything. But when our action looks like overpromising, which later results in under-delivering, an apology might not cut it. At the core of what makes entrepreneurs [and governments] great is the ability to dream big and cast a vision of what could be. But when you aren’t able to deliver on your ideas and promises, your reputation will suffer, which is bad for you and bad for business. So before you promise the moon, beware.” For example, YIDA promised us the moon – some two hundred million per year. It’s been many years, and we have yet to see a single, solitary dime! Sigh! They have taken our gullible administration for a ride. And as has YIDA, our administration has been taking us for a ride with all its highfalutin talk that never amounts to a hill of beans.
Folks, we have been fooled by this administration in the past. These were the geniuses that had all the connections to bring so much by way of investment to our fair State. These were the people with all the bright ideas. Not much has happened since those heady days. Let us not be fooled again! Elections are on the horizon, and we can expect a flurry of over-promising and under-delivering.
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