The Scarlet Pimpernel Blog
Saturday, 07 August 2010 06:55
By The Scarlet Pimpernel
Antigua and Barbuda is currently battling a plethora of economic, political and social challenges under the “stewardship” of the United Progressive Party (UPP) government, which has refused to take any form of responsibility for the nation’s predicament, and finds absolution and a convenient scapegoat in the Global Economic Crisis.
Moreover, inane perversions of the Antigua Labour Party’s (ALP’s) twenty-eight (28) years at the helm remains the refugee camp from which the UPP’s political “gentry” defends its party’s failed attempt at governance. Meanwhile, the most sagacious political sentiments advocated among politicians, pundits, turncoats, patriots, bloggers and “bluebirds” proclaim incompetence, corruption, mismanagement, lack of ingenuity, inability to attract foreign direct investment and the failure of the UPP government to effectively respond to the foreseeable effects of the global economic crisis on the one horse tourism industry as the root causes of the nation’s economic meltdown.
While the nation is buckling under the burden of unemployment, joblessness, escalating crime, poverty and starvation, to add insult to injury, the UPP government seeks to proselytize the nation into recognizing the economic health value of drinking the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) “Kool Aid,” which has never quenched a single thirst after countless attempts since its 1944 Bretton Woods inception. The totality of these tumultuous times, taken together with the obvious implications of the Louise Blenman’s March, 2010 high court decision, makes it a euphemism to say that the nation is in a state of “unrest”. In turbulent times like these the political will of the People favours change, which is good reason for level of optimism vigorously emanating from the ALP camp as they prepare to take over the government.
But, what will the impending change of government mean for the ordinary people living in Antigua and Barbuda? Say what you like about the “comrades” but the ALP has always understood that the role of government is to improve people’s lives. In the past the ALP has stumbled and even fallen from grace, but has never forsaken the core, time-honoured principles and values instilled by the “Father of the Nation” as to what it means to be a “Labour Party,” a party for the ordinary People, true to the everyday needs emanating from the “vox populi”.
In stark contradistinction, the UPP government has been laboring under the mistaken idea that “democracy” means that the government is elected to rule over the People and has listened only to their experimental fantasies of governance, effectively disenfranchising the People, while holding fast to the arrogant belief that because they are better educated they are thus smarter than the People, and it is on account of their intellectual superiority why the People chose them to “rule”. DEAD WRONG!
Democracy does not mean election by the incompetent many for the appointment of the corrupt few, it is a system wherein the People are endowed with the inalienable freedom to speak and the government recognizes its sacrosanct obligation to listen.
Where there is no vision, the people will perish; I have listen to the UPP “brain trust” wax eloquently, analyzing the intricacies of local economic data through the lenses of various theories that are deep-rooted in the classical and contemporary variations of the dismal science, and I am reminded of the words of the Monarch, King Short Shirt, who said in song:
“Seems like we going backwards, seems like we going from bad to worse … I am not an economist, I know, but I find that we can’t continue like this, brother if we don’t end this whole charade we can’t last a next decade”
Need I say that the ordinary People of Antigua & Barbuda frankly don’t care about fanciful economic theorizing; as far as economics goes, we the People want to know: how the government is going to deal with the economic needs of the thousands of civil servants they promised the IMF to send home?
how does the government plan to attract investors and foreign direct investment?
how is the government going to revive our bludgeoned tourism industry?
how is the government going to create new jobs for recent graduates and the already unemployed? and how does the government plan to reduce the cost of living, particularly the high cost
Common sense says that the ruling UPP government is obligated to construct a plan to lead the nation out of this calamity into economic recovery … so what’s the Game Plan … where is the written economic recovery roadmap, the white paper? Our elected officials, the self-proclaimed visionaries must have a plan to get us out of this mess, even an outline, or am I being naïve.
The UPP wants to remain in power, but in all of its partisan discourse, debates and discussions in the local media, what remains conspicuously absent from the polemic is the voice of any UPP minister, personality or entity who has even a hint of the “vision” of wherein lies the specific solutions to our nation’s problems. Admittedly, none of them have any idea as to how to lead the nation out of its predicament. The broad, politically savvy, generalizations bantered about are woefully insufficient at this juncture; the people are tired of listening to the UPP, like a habitual cheating spouse telling us WHAT they are going to do if we just give them another chance. Now is the time to tell the People HOW you are going to lead the nation to economic recovery after
six years and four months of dismal failure … “show us the money” … provide us with the details. At a minimum, the nation is in dire need of a cogent, prudent, detailed outline of a workable plan, strategy or roadmap for the nation’s economic recovery, to put the Peoples’ minds at ease.
Instead of creating the desperately needed “game plan” clever, overpaid, UPP politicians and their political advisors have concocted what is best referred to as the “secret plan theory” to cover their useless hides. According to this theory, the specific plans and strategies for the nation’s economic recovery must be kept secret, because if they are revealed the ALP will implement their solutions after the new elections and take the credit. Despite its clever construction, the dignity of such an assertion would be elevated if it was referred to as “crap”, so let’s move on.
Indeed, the national brain pool of Antigua & Barbuda is enhanced by the presence of almost two hundred (200) lawyers, scores of doctors, numerous paid political advisors, thousands of civil servants, including ambassadors, diplomats and intellectuals with masters degrees and PhD’s fu bang darg, most of whom support the UPP, who are either imitating church mice or passing the buck with respect to their civic obligations to help the nation out of peril. Consequently, the local media and blogosphere is overrun with the voices of the people who should be silent, having their say on myriad issues about which they are patently unqualified to speak. Therefore, I am desperately appealing to the nation’s, generally apathetic “talented tenth” to please “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”; now is the time to stand up and make your patriotic silence less deafening, or is it the case that in keeping with the
“secret plan theory”, you too have nothing to say.
Let me state the obvious, the ship is sinking and we the People are in need of deliverance. As a patriotic Antiguan, I am asking the acting UPP government to take counsel in the lyrics of a Beres Hammond song and just “step aside now, another man wants to take over, cause you don’t know what you got, so now is time to lose her …”