(Editorial by G. A. Dwyer Astaphan)
A few days ago I met an Antiguan who was in St.Kitts for our Carnival. It was a few hours before his flight back to Antigua and he told me that he was going to get a nice shower because he didn’t know when he would get one after returning home.
Now we have water rationing, and extremely serious water problems, in St.Kitts, but he said that the situation in Antigua is even worse.
He told me that while he has more than enough reasons to vote out the Gaston Browne Administration, having voted for them in the last two elections, this water problem was reason enough for him to give other people a chance to lead! And if they mess up, get rid of them too, and fast.
I reminded him of Mr. Browne’s comment that he had inherited the problem from his predecessors in office. And the gentleman agreed, but he countered by saying that Mr. Browne had more than enough time, eight years, to fix the problem and he has failed miserably to do so.
He said that he is no longer into this blind Party loyalty story, and that his common sense and conscience prevent him from endorsing failure, especially when that failure has such a critical impact on his life and the lives of all Antiguans, in every possible way.
Too serious to let Mr. Gaston Browne to get away with it again.
He said what was particularly vexing to him was that Mr. Browne, recognizing the urgency of the problem, had presented himself to the people during the elections of 2014, as a miracle man by declaring that he would fix the problem in 14 days.
Perhaps the saddest aspect of the 14-day promise was that people believed it. They were so desperate for water that they were perhaps willing to believe any promise of water, regardless of how unrealistic or deceptive that promise might be.
Water is life. It makes up 60% of the body of an adult human. We need it to drink, to grow food, to cook food, to stay clean, to run industry, to put out fires, to build homes, to create jobs, preserve economies and societies.
There are many places in the world with far worse water problems than Antigua and they have solved their problems. The leaders of those countries have given water top priority. Which caring and capable leader wouldn’t?
The young Antiguan gentleman was correct: Mr. Browne has had more than a fair chance to solve the water problem for the people of Antigua & Barbuda: the people are no closer to a solution today than they were eight years ago. Mr. Browne can say whatever he likes, but this is the truth.
So it couldn’t have been top priority for him. Or if it was, then it would expose his and his colleagues’ inability to resolve this life and death problem. Either they didn’t care enough, or they weren’t capable enough. Either way, same bad result for the country.
What are reasonable, sensible and self-respecting people to do? Take more of this? Hell, no! Show them the exit!
So be cautioned, if you choose to keep him in office, then you will be appointing him as the weapon of deep suffering and deprivation that you, yes, you will have foolishly allowed to be caused to yourselves, perhaps in the hope that God will feel sorry for you and reward you by welcoming you into Heaven where you will be able to drink all of the water you want.
But that’s not the God who I know!
Fool you or himself in 2014, shame on Mr. Browne. Fool you in 2018, shame on you. Fool you again in 2023, bare foolishness on your part! And forget Heaven. God forgives us for our sins, but He leaves us to be punished if we insist on being foolish.
So if you choose the path of foolishness, then you will choose hell. Bear it!
No water in Antigua, compliments of Mr. Browne, no water in Hell, compliments of Mr. Satan!
Seems clear as water to me.
But your punishment at the hands of Mr. Browne doesn’t start and end with water.
Given the difficulties and losses which you have endured over the last eight years, are you satisfied with the performance of Mr. Browne and his colleagues with regard to the supply of electricity to the country? How many anxious nights have you and your family endured without power? How many appliances have you lost? How much food have you lost? How many billions of dollars have been lost to your economy because of this poor performance?
Is this a situation which you wish to endure in the future? If you support Mr. Browne and his candidates in this election, you will be rewarding them for hurting you and the country, and you will be giving them a free pass to jam you the same way for the next five years. Don’t bad deeds, and doesn’t poor performance, get punished any more?
When Machel Montano returns to New York on Sunday or Monday, his pockets loaded with your money, who will turn on the lights in your home?
And how robust has been the move by Mr. Browne and his Cabinet towards renewable energy?
But there’s more reason for you to reject the incumbents.
You know that in addition to these fundamental utilities, the road system is in a disgraceful state. And does Mr. Browne saying how many millions were spent on roads give you any comfort or change the facts on this? Terrible roads. And Mr. Browne has not found the key to unlock this problem. Ask yourselves why he hasn’t.
Lots of froth, very little mauby!
What about your farmers and fishers? What about your small local business owners and hopefuls? What about your food import bill? What about the cost of living? Who is protecting you from price gouging? How much is the big man ripping off the Treasury with excessive concessions and tax cheating? How much longer will you allow the conspiracy between the politicians and the rich against the poor people, and the best interests, of Antigua & Barbuda to continue?
Have you examined them closely to see which of them really care for you and would go that extra mile to help out you and your family?
How many of them are election politicians? How many of them use you at elections then have no use for you between elections?
They are encouraged to grow their wealth ‘creatively” (what does that really mean?) while they occupy public office, instead of fully and humbly immersing themselves in total service and commitment to you and your empowerment.
For them, is it country above self? Is it ‘blessed is he who considers the poor’? Or is it self above country and creatively seek your own wealth while in public office? And when they say that they love poor people, do they really mean it or do they mean that they love people poor?
Examine them with a clear and objective mind. After all, this is your country, your lives and livelihoodS, your future and the future of your children.
Look at the youth. Are they being encouraged, guided, mentored to take up the load and carry the country to great heights? Are they being given a fair chance?
Does Mr. Browne perhaps see bright, young people as A threat to his leadership?
The answer to these questions may be found in the fact that there are two candidates on the ABLP ticket who are near or over 80 years old. They’ve been in politics since Noah built the Ark : Mr. Robin Yearwood and Mr. Molwyn Joseph.
Mr. Browne is comfortable with these two old men. He sees them as no threat to him. Meanwhile, succession planning, and the sustainability and buoyancy of the ABLP, and possibly the country, suffer,as the youths are stifled and frustrated.
What are young people to think and do? What real chances do they have as long as Mr. Browne is leader?
And when the youth are stifled and discouraged, when they are robbed of their hope, a country has no future.
Your country needs water, literally and otherwise. It has to stop being a hell for its people. It needs to become a Garden of Eden, a beautiful and fertile physical, social and economic oasis, the paradise that it can and should be. But don’t kid yourselves, that can’t happen under Mr. Browne’s leadership.
(Editorial by G. A. Dwyer Astaphan)
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