Sunday, 19 August 2012 02:30
By G.A. Dwyer Astaphan
A lady with inside information suggested to me recently that Dr. Denzil Douglas may have travelled as many as 2,000,000 (two million) miles since becoming Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis in July,1995.
My first reaction was disbelief. So she explained.
She said that “the Flying Emperor” (as she calls him because, she says, he’s always travelling and he acts imperiously) travels to the Far East at least once a year, to the Middle East at least twice a year, to Europe at least four times a year, and to North America at least six times a year.
Here’s how she broke it down.
The distance between St. Kitts and London is 4,115 miles, and between London and Hong Kong is 5,986 miles. That’s a total of 10,101 miles. Therefore, the return trip, St. Kitts to Hong Kong, is 20,202 miles via London.
Through New York, it’s further: 21,618 miles return. (I’m using Hong Kong for convenience. It could be Thailand, Singapore or elsewhere in that region).
That’s the Far East: 20,202 miles a year, minimum.
She then went on to the Middle East, using Dubai as the reference point. Via London, it’s St. Kitts-London 4,115 miles; London-Dubai 3,396 miles; for a total, one way, of 7,511 miles or return 15,022 miles.
Via New York, it’s further: 17,162 miles.
Taking the shorter route, it means that the gentleman would travel 30,044 miles a year on his two trips to the Middle East, minimum.
Again, using the distance to London as the reference point, the gentleman’s four trips to Europe annually would add up to 4,115 x 2 (return) = 8,230 x 4 (four times a year) for a total of 32,920 miles a year, minimum, in his travels to Europe.
For the six trips to the USA, the Insider Lady used the average distance between St. Kitts and Miami (1,267 miles) and St. Kitts and New York (1,748 miles), which is 1,507 miles.
Six such trips would add up to 9,042 miles a year going to and from North America, minimum.
Now let’s add: 20,202 (Far East) + 30,044 (Middle East) + 32,920 (Europe) + 9,042 (North America) = 92,208 miles a year.
92,208 x 17 (years) = 1,567,536 miles.
But she had more for me.
She said that on some of these trips, the gentleman might visit two, three or more countries while in a particular part of the Far East, the Middle East or Europe, and would similarly travel to other cities within the USA or Canada while in North America, piling up air miles along the way.
She estimated that this could add another 15,000 miles each year, or about 255,000 for the 17 years. So we’re now up to 1,822,536 miles.
Yet, she still wasn’t done.
She said that about once a year, he goes on extended intercontinental trips; and she gave examples, one of which was his trip to Libya and Ethiopia, days after the elections of 25th January 2010.
His itinerary was St. Kitts-London (4,115 miles); London-Libya (1,445 miles); Libya-Ethiopia (2,015 miles); Ethiopia-London (3,660 miles); London-Boston, USA (3,281 miles); Boston-Miami (1,256 miles); and Miami-St. Kitts (1,267 miles).
That’s 17,039 miles.
Taking the average distance for such a trip to be, say, 12,000 miles a year, then over 17 years, another 204,000 miles are added.
Which would now bring the total to 2,026,536 miles all paid for by the taxpayers of this country.
That’s nearly five times around the world every year, and more than 81 times around the world in 17 years! Based on the Insider Lady’s numbers, it may be that the Prime Minister of the 104-square-mile twin island Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis (which is the world’s 8th smallest independent state) travels more than the Paramount Leader of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Hu Jintao, and U.S. President, Mr. Barack Obama, combined!
And this doesn’t include travel within the Caribbean, or trips taken under the auspices and at the expense of persons, whether corporate or human, other than the Government and people of St. Kitts & Nevis.
Two million, twenty-six thousand, five hundred thirty-six (2,026,536) miles for an airplane moving at 550 miles per hour, represents 3,685 hours, or 154 days, or about five months, in the air. So if the Insider Lady is correct, then our Prime Minister has been in the air altogether for five months over the last 17 years.
Maybe this could help to explain a lot of his actions and behaviour.
In addition, the Insider Lady estimated that his travels keep him out of the Federation an average of about 110 days a year, which would add up to over 3½ months a year, and to 1,870 days, or 62 months, or 5 years and 2 months out of the last 17 years.
I couldn’t take the Insider Lady’s word as gospel. So I got input from other sources; and theirs was consistent with hers.
Wow! But the Insider Lady wasn’t done yet.
She estimated that the bill for the gentleman’s air travel alone over the years would be close to $9 million. And that hotel and other expenses related to his travel, as well as allowances, per diems, etc., would be another $9 million.
Allowances and per diems alone could be $750,000 or more, she said.
$18 million, paid for by the people of St. Kitts & Nevis.
And what have the people gotten in return?
Below-par infrastructure, a winking and blinking power supply, a fiscal crisis, recession, unemployment, an under-trained populace, increasing disenfranchisement, excessive taxes, unbearable cost of living, systemic and epidemic corruption, a people relegated to being strangers in their own land, a widespread sense of malaise, a loss of direction and hope, etc.
But it gets even worse, because while he has been unspeakably excessive in his travel habits, he could’ve to some degree redeemed himself in the process. But he has failed to do that, and he has inflicted even more pain on the people.
Airlines offer free mileage and other benefits to travellers who’re registered under their frequent flyer programmes. These programmes are available to individuals and to corporations and other entities (including governments, I’m told). So if your employers are registered and they send you on a business trip, they, like you, can gather bonus miles and other benefits, which they can use to save travel costs in the future, as well as use for prize trips for worthy employees and their families, customers, etc.
The Government Department in St. Kitts which administers travel arrangements is not registered, I’m told. If he really loved his ‘subjects’ (as he has referred to the people of this country), then he would’ve ensured that the 2,026,536 miles that he’s travelled out of their pockets was used to provide bonuses by way of 75 to 100 airline tickets for Government personnel travelling on Government business, or for prize trips for the cleaner, messenger, crossing guard or driver, or teacher, or nurse, or Fire & Rescue, Police, Prison or Defence Force person, or receptionist or junior clerk, of the year; or for emergency and humanitarian travel cases such as a child suffering from cancer, a middle-aged mother of four in need of major surgery, etc.
This would’ve saved the Government and taxpayers enormous amounts of money, helped people in dire need, and created much goodwill in the community.
But those don’t seem to be priority matters for the gentleman. He continues to indulge in his taxpayer-funded, 17-year travel orgy, making sure that, not the taxpayers as a whole, but he and people close to him, will allegedly benefit from the mileage that he has accumulated out of the pockets of the taxpayers.
And as if all of that isn’t too much already, there’s still more.
On these trips, he’s usually accompanied by at least one person. That’s an additional 2,026,536 miles, for a total of 4,053,072 miles of air travel by the gentleman and his attendant, over the past 17 years, and at the expense of the people of this country. And remember, sometimes he carries along more than one attendant with him, all at the taxpayers’ expense.
That’s another 81 orbits around the Planet Earth, and another five months-plus off island for each additional bloodsucker who goes with him.
Imagine that. People are begging for bus fare from country to town, they’re leaving their homes at mornings with their cupboards and their stomachs (and their children’s stomachs) empty, they’re struggling to get their children ready for the new school term due to start in a few weeks, they can’t find work, they can’t pay their electricity and other bills, the delinquency rate on loans has increased, certain Parliamentary Representatives are ducking and playing ‘hoop’ (hide and seek) with their constituents, decent young women are resorting to prostitution to support their families, and the Prime Minister and his fellow bloodsuckers are flying all over the world, and first class no less, at the sufferers’ expense!
Over the past four months or so, he’s been to England three times. This last time to the Olympics, then off to Dubai, back to London, back to St. Kitts where he attended a funeral, then to Antigua, then off to Canada.
This is abuse and bad-mindedness at their worst! It’s ‘Robin Hood-ism’ in reverse.
Many years ago he reportedly went to Robert Bradshaw and said: “I am your cousin, and I’d like to get a scholarship to attend university.”
And Mr. Bradshaw, cool, calm, collected and unimpressed by the ‘cousin’ talk, replied:,“Young man, while we wish to assist everybody, you must await your turn.”
Poor Bradshaw mightn’t have had a clue as to how eager the gentleman was to get his turn, and as to what he’d do when he got it.
Riding high on the backs of the poor folks of St.Kitts & Nevis, even in this most difficult of times. Sucking their blood, and spitting in their faces. Getting fat off them, while they are hungry. Living under a strong roof while they face foreclosure and eviction. Protected, at the expense of the people, by countless paid personnel while the people who’re paying for his protection shake day and night in fear for their own safety and the safety of their loved ones. Calling on them to account to him, but willfully refusing to account to them. Building his own empire, but destroying their livelihoods, their lives, their land, their hope, and their patrimony.
And in spite of all of that, he still wants to pose as their redeemer.
When he said in February 2010, that he could run the country from any part of the world on his Blackberry device, he meant it. He wants to control St. Kitts & Nevis, but to stay away from it as much as possible.
He has lost his appetite for living in this country, but not for living off it. Like an absentee plantation owner.
We should grant him his wish to be away. No Emperor for us, worse yet a Flying Emperor. Let’s give him one last trip out, on a one-way ticket.