The character, Annie, in the John Houston Broadway musical by the same name, sings that song with a grim determination that, tomorrow will be better. The first stanza of the song says, “The sun will come out tomorrow / Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun.” It speaks to that “hope that springs eternal in the human breast.” It speaks to an almost childlike conviction that even though today might be dark, dank and dreary, tomorrow will be an improvement. In fact, parents who make promises that they fail to keep to their children, often assuage the disappointed children by making even more grandiose promises – that tomorrow the child will get that long-promised bike, or that elusive trip to Disney World. Of course, those of us who are parents know that in the face of a promise about tomorrow, “every mother’s child will find it hard to sleep that night.” Indeed, they toss and turn and fidget, sleep the furthest thing from their minds, and they ask, not once, not twice, “Daddy, when is tomorrow? When we go to sleep and wake up, that is tomorrow?”
Sadly, for us here in this fair Antigua and Barbuda, we are saddled with a tomorrow government. Every blessed thing is in the future tense. And what is even more disturbing is that those in high places in this administration utter the vain tomorrows with a silky-smooth tongue designed to placate us. It is a cynical and dastardly hoax that is pulled on the body politic, time and again. It is a hoax because tomorrow seldom comes, or tomorrow takes its own sweet time in a-coming.
So those in high places make grand pronouncements when they know fully-well that those pronouncements are a stretch – a massaging of the truth. As we say in the plain-spoken vernacular, “Nutten tarl go so!” Of course, politicos who operate in that manner are from the school that subscribes to the notion that if you repeat a half-truth often enough, it takes on an air of certitude. Mind you, the propaganda must be delivered with much brass-face and an abundance of piety and rectitude. Consider the following unfulfilled tomorrow: ‘Oh yes, it will be done soonest . . . . . a brand new prison . . . . a revamped Industrial Court . . . . I am satisfied that it will be done, blah blah blah . . .’How about this grandiose projections: ‘They tell me that . . . in a matter of weeks, maybe even days . . . these will come on stream . . . blah, blah, blah . . . I am told that blah, blah blah . . . ‘ And how about this one uttered with an affect of sincerity. We’re talking about how officialdom waxed lyrical about going over to Barbuda shortly to put in place the sister-isle’s readiness for Covid-19, blah blah blah . . . Folks, it’s all phooey!
For this future imperfect administration, the days of the week are Thisday, Thatday, Otherday, Whichday, Someday and Nextday. [Source: online meme]. ADOMS building will be finished in two weeks, (stale joke). The National Technical Training Centre (NTTC) building will be demolished and rebuilt as a hospital adjunct to Mount St. John’s Medical Centre in fifteen days. (ditto, another unfunny joke). This coming Sunday will be about fifteen days since work began at the NTTC, and you can bet that it will not be ready. The Margetson’s Ward Isolation and Quarantine Unit will be finished by next week. Several next weeks have come and gone and it is still not ready. We have all the testing equipment and the reagents, and the technicians are being trained, and we will begin testing in a matter of days. (dry joke). If one were to ask ten of the honchos concerned with this Covid-testing story, it is very likely that one would get ten different explanations as to what is meant by ‘a matter of days,’ ‘in the coming days,’ ‘shortly’ and ‘soonest.’ Even ‘next week’ seems open to interpretation! Good grief! We wish they would get their I WILL LOVE YOU TOMORROW stories straight!
And so it goes, fanciful promises that are far removed from reality. Remember this doozy? Work is to begin immediately on the Sunshine Hub Car Park. Folks, the Sunshine Hub is as dark and as deserted as it was many months ago, except that there is a nice, neat fence around it now. Sigh!
Let us be clear, we here at NEWSCO support every effort that is being taken by the authorities to keep Antiguans and Barbudans safe. We certainly wish the administration every success, and proffer our unstinting support. After all, when the bell tolls, it tolls for all of us. You see, “Any man’s death diminishes us” – we’re brothers and sisters; “we’re part of humanity.” [NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, John Donne]. We’re all in this life-and-death struggle for survival, and as such, there can be no room for political bickering and grandstanding.
By that same token however, we must remain true to our remit – asking the probing questions and sniffing beneath the surface. In short, as was once said by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of the WASHINGTON POST, “[We will] follow the money!” The times demand it; the people expect it! We’re talking transparency and accountability. And forthrightness! Just tell us the unvarnished truth, rather than feeding us sops to make us momentarily feel good. It undermines your credibility in the long run. You see, when times, and dates, and deadlines, and details, seem fudged and made-up on the fly; when they do not comport with the evidence of our eyes; when they seem to run every which way but true, we the people become perturbed.
As King Short Shirt says in NO PROMISES, “No promise nutten, when yuh know nutten go happen . . .,” at least, not by tomorrow. Just saying . . .
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