Ian 'Magic' Hughes
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 02:30
By Ian Magic Hughes
The public disagreement between Leader of the Antigua Labour Party Lester Bird and Chairman Gaston Browne is a clear indication that the ALP has not changed. After eight years in opposition, the ALP still does not get it.
The people of Antigua & Barbuda need proper and organised leadership, a quality that has been lacking since "Noah built the Ark". We tried both the ALP and the UPP, and the two have failed.
I hear talk of back to the ALP. Why would any reasonable person want to do that?
The ALP’s infighting will amount to nothing but chaos, for the party and the people.
True, the UPP is losing popularity. But if the ALP believes that the people will turn to them for leadership, they will have to change from the past misguided ways and bring something new to the table.
Anything short of that, and it’s another defeat in 2014.
The UPP’s current problems are enormous. The Chinese Power Plant issue, wanton spending and snail’s pace decision making are all elements of the government’s poor ranking.
Lack of transparency and accountability are also plaguing the government.
Rather than take this opportunity to put a proper system in place to showcase to the people, the ALP continues to fight within. At least four members are fighting for the leader of the opposition’s chair.
And Bird, while ailing and fighting his own legal battles, is not backing out from the challenges; remember (fu me Pupa build dis) ah VC Bird party this.
Other members are fighting the ALP leadership on constitutional matters concerning the appointment of candidates to represent certain constituencies.
There have been suggestions that Bird would step down from the chair if the ALP won the 2014 general elections, and he became prime minister of Antigua & Barbuda for the third time.
Those spying his seat, however, may not want to wait, since nothing is cast in stone and there is a possibility that Bird may become "drunk with power" and never give it up.
That’s if there was any such deal on the table.
Though he is party leader, Bird has been extremely selective in his public utterances, despite the need for solid leadership at this time.
Browne is the party’s deputy leader, and the heir apparent to Bird’s seat, but latterly, Molwyn Joseph has been the one leading the fight against the government while the two at the top have been noticeably quiet.
Until Bird called out Browne on the economic citizenship matter, both had been relatively silent as Joseph pressed the government about monies spent on the Chinese Power Plant and public fences.
US$52 M for the plant and a misunderstood amount, and a minimum of EC$50 M in contracts for fences have been Joseph’s weapons against the government.
There is no secret that Browne would like to be prime minister of Antigua & Barbuda.
Joseph, Robin Yearwood, and Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin also aspire to rule.
The dilemma for all these individuals hoping to be prime minister of Antigua & Barbuda is the fact that to get there, they have to go through Lester Bird. But why fight?
It would benefit the ALP if Bird would pass the leadership to one of the members after serious consultation with the party’s senior members.
Pick the person most capable to lead, and support that individual.
Bird may have the most support for leadership in the party, but on a national scale, he is perhaps the party’s main liability.
If Bird made this honourable gesture, perhaps - just perhaps - the electorate would take notice and at least begin to look at the ALP differently.
There is no doubt that the people are really fed up with the UPP, but the ALP, in its present state, cannot be trusted.
As a matter of fact, it will take a whole lot more than an honourable handover for the ALP to restore any trust, if at all.
The ALP would have to admit to its past failures, and that is not something that party appears capable of doing.
There is no unity among the ALP.
It appears that they are simply sitting on the sidelines waiting and hoping for the government to self-destruct so they can grab power.
That’s the ALP’s main problem; they want power; they do not want to govern.
With two years 'til the next general elections, the ALP is as disorganised and broken as it ever was. Anyone who says different is not speaking the truth.
By the time the ALP is able to select candidates for each constituency, the elections may be due, with no time to properly organise.
I hear so much talk about getting rid of the UPP, but I do not see any evidence of the alternative the ALP being any better than the present government.
The party’s track record is an open book of mismanagement.
I doubt very much that the ALP has the capabilities to be any different that it has been in the past. At least if there is, I have not seen it.
If they could change, the ALP would have done so years ago. Now may be too late.
One thing is certain. We the people of Antigua & Barbuda cannot continue on this present path with a failing UPP.
The question is, is the ALP the answer?
I say no. What do you say?