The energy and enthusiasm that characterised the build-up to the last two elections appears to be missing from this election cycle, at least on the part of the incumbent Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP). In a strange sort of way, they seem to have run out of steam, and they are merely treading water, hoping against all odds, that a last-minute infusion of cold, hard cash, will do the trick, propelling them over the edge to a third victory. It is a vain hope.
Antiguans and Barbudans are so fed-up with their incompetence, high-handedness and downright greed, that it is not a stretch to suggest that only the dyed-in-the-wool true-believers have any faith that this Administration will be able to pull a rabbit from the hat and do something meaningful for the people, albeit at this eleventh hour. Remember, the incumbency made a virtue out of ignoring the people. He of a high place perfected the fiendish art of bullyragging them. From Clarevue workers, to port workers, to pensioners, and so on and so forth, this Administration played with people’s lives, making idle promises that they had no intention of keeping. It was abuse at its very worst.
So now that the election “is nigh, even at our doors,” many of the ministers in high places seem not to have any appetite for the election fight. No surprise there. We mean, what could Minister Jonas possibly tell the people of St. George to placate them after being AWOL for so long? How can Minister Marshall explain the horrendous work on the Little Creek Bridge (After more than a year of no work), the foot-dragging on the Crabbe Hill Road, and the neglect of the Cades Bay Bridge? How can she face her constituents without shame and embarrassment? And how can the good Dr Michael Browne, he of sartorial excess and foppishness, justify his de minimis effort for the people of All Saints West? How? How? How? Their inertia on all the important things, the bread-and-butter issues that matter to the people has been astounding, and it beggars the question: How the hell did these mediocre people get elected in the first place? The mind wobbles.
Of course, we all know the old saying by Abraham Lincoln: “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” It applies to this ABLP. Yes, they were quite clever heretofore in fooling some of the people, but it seems that they have outsmarted themselves. The jig is up, and nobody is now being fooled by the silly games being played by an Administration, so given to mendacity. For example, this pretentious Administration, after getting caught with its eBooks pants down at the Cooks Landfill, brazenly lied and said that they had removed the eBook batteries and memory cards. This was in an effort to soft-soap environmentalists who were concerned about their destructive impact on the land, never mind that there was still much monetary value in them. Turns out, the United Progressive Party (UPP) was able to recover over 200 memory cards and batteries from the eBooks lying at the dump. What a national disgrace! Especially since the eBooks cost taxpayers a tidy sum amounting to millions of dollars, and not a day like today have they ever been fully utilised by our frustrated students. In fact, they have served merely as door-stoppers in many homes. What a sinful waste!
And as if that were not enough, here is this Administration’s, Mother Of All Whoppers – its boastful claim in February of this year that its US$200 million 10-year bond offering at 4.5 percent on Euroclear, was fully subscribed. Sigh! Turns out, it was a big, fat lie! Not a blessed soul placed a dime in this Administration’s investment instrument. Even Pinocchio, he of the ever-growing nose on account of his outrageous lies, blushed at the naked untruth. Seems, Pinocchio has stiff competition, as does King Liar of Lord Nelson infamy.
As you can imagine, he of a high place had to speak in hyperbolic terms to bolster our flagging spirits and inject some measure of enthusiasm for this Administration’s financial plans for the long-term future. Remember, this government has had nothing but a litany of failure to show for its many delusional schemes, and had it been successful in the US$200 bond, it would have allowed the regime to “re-profile its debt, to ensure sustainability going forward, and to invest in strategic projects including the acquisition and renovation of the Jolly Beach Hotel and the construction of a hotel at Morris Bay . . .” [NTL TRUST, February 7, 2022] Chupz! (The most recent tall tale surrounding Jolly Beach is that Rob Barrett will be lending the government US$10 million so that it can acquire the property, blah, blah, blah. Why Barrett would want to lend this squandermania government that kind of money in exchange for a contract to manage the property, bearing in mind that he already has several other hotels of his own, makes no sense to us. But what do we know?) The whole thing sounds like poppycock to us, especially since he of a high place is speaking of giving the former Jolly Beach workers who are owed in excess of EC$7 million, a haircut on their monies, supposedly for the time being.
Anyway, here’s a reminder of how egregiously this administration has failed in its lacklustre efforts to “invest in strategic projects that will drive economic growth, create employment, and generate increased revenue to finance government operations:” YIDA, 500 homes in 500 days, reliable running water, Half Moon Bay, Callaloo Cay, Paradise Found, Best Western Hotel, Rendezvous Bay, Shell Beach project, Beaches Resort, Willoughby Bay city, solar farm projects, dredging of the St John’s Harbour, the new public cemetery, four-lane highways, and so on and so forth, are just some of the astonishing failures racked up by this Grade D Administration. So sad!
With an election around the corner, those in high places, with precious little to campaign on, are understandably quiet and subdued. They know that asking the people, whom they have let down so badly, to vote for them is a bridge too far. After all, they would not even vote for themselves, if they were to be truthful and honest. But then again, truth and honesty are . . . well . . . you get the point . . . as was once said by Saint Augustine, “It was a day when I was preparing a speech to be delivered in praise of the Emperor; there would be a lot of lies in the speech, and they would be applauded by those who knew that they were lies.” [THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE] “Adiuva nos!” (Latin, God help us!)
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