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Thursday, 28 October, 2021
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To temper our words

It is with a raised eyebrow that we note that the good Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Chet Greene, and our good Attorney General, the Honourable Steadroy Benjamin, are quite silent on l’affaire Choksi. Seems, they are both loath to weigh in publicly on a serious international legal matter that is right smack in the middle of their portfolios. We can only speculate as to the reason for this deafening silence. Perhaps they were kept out of the loop with this operation, and in a fit of pique at having been left out, they are reluctant to join the fete now that it has blown up. Who knows? We are only speculating.

Another school of thought postulates that they may have counseled against the hare-brained operation, but were over-ridden and side-lined. We suggest that they are quite happy that they had no part in this er . . . extraordinary rendition effort. Again, we are only speculating.

Of course, we admire their frugality of words. In a country where some in high places bloviate and talk too much, it is quite refreshing. That penchant for weighing in on any matter, be it ever so small, hearkens back to the Progressive Labour Movement (PLM) years in office when the late Member of Parliament, the Honourable Donald Halstead, a man who was not shy about voicing his opinion on any and everything, was dubbed the “Minister of All Affairs.” Indeed, he gave new meaning to that quote from Shakespeare’s MERCHANT OF VENICE, where it was said of Gratiano, a loudmouth, “But hear thee, Gratiano; thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice; parts that become thee happily enough, and in such eyes as ours appear not faults; but where thou art not known, why, there they show something too liberal. Pray thee, take pains to allay thy skipping spirit with some cold drops of modesty . . .” Hmmmm!

Clearly, we could all do well to be a bit more reserved in our tendency to hark and bark and fulminate. As the old 19th century proverb declares, “Speech is silver, but silence is golden.” We learned that in primary school – that thoughtfulness and discretion can be infinitely more valuable than the most eloquent words.  A corollary to that saying is, “If speech is silver, silence is gold. When you must speak, speak a few words . . . speak sweetly and softly . . . that is the way to reach the listener’s heart.” Remember, folks: “Words are like leaves, and where they most abound, much fruit of sense is seldom found.”

To be sure, this is the start of the so-called ‘political silly season.’ That is the time when we are subjected to overheated rhetoric – wild promises, and inflammatory utterances. And yes, brash and over-the-top behavior. The Cambridge English dictionary describes the political silly season as “That time when people do or say things that are not sensible or serious.” Let us beware. In the past, we were fed a diet of that drivel by the incumbency – five hundred houses in five hundred days, fixing the water problem in a short number of days, blah, blah, blah. Those sorts of utterances were far removed from reality, and they spoke to the contempt that those in high places have for the people. For shame! WE OUGHT TO REJECT THAT FOOLISHNESS THIS TIME AROUND!

Meanwhile, l’affaire Choksi continues. We understand that he was remanded to prison in Dominica yesterday, and his eventual fate remains unclear. The Dominicans have charged him with illegally entering their country, but It remains a head-scratcher as to why they did not arrest and charge those who brought him there illegally. We are also curious as to who administered such a severe beating to Choksi. And yes, there are a number of unanswered questions about the international jet that reportedly landed in Dominica, and so on and so forth. Talk about high stakes global intrigue! Folks, Frederick Forsyth and John le Carre could not have made this stuff up. And we are right in the thick of it!

       And having much to say, instead of being thoughtful and sober.

 We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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