Ian 'Magic' Hughes
Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:30
By Ian Magic Hughes
The leadership of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) made it absolutely clear during their Insight program on ZDK on Tuesday that they are a group hungry for power.
Forget that Antigua & Barbuda is suffering from poor leadership caused by a lack of transparency and accountability - a trait of good governance.
Clearly, the ALP is not concerned about rescuing Antigua & Barbuda from a failed administration of Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and its poor fiscal policies.
Imagine with all that has happened for the eight years that the United Progressive Party (UPP) has been in office, the ALP is now attempting to sell to the people that they are getting ready to manage.
The ALP has so much to work with to motivate them to act and prepare for good governance.
The overspending on roads and sidewalks, purchase of buildings, accusations of bribery, and a disastrous 2009 general elections are just a few topics that would "light a fire" under any serious opposition.
With less than two years 'til the next elections, the ALP is now getting ready.
Please, even if one had to give the UPP a pass on its first term, why isn’t the ALP ready and well organised to manage the affair of this nation?
What a joke.
On Tuesday, ALP leader Lester Bird, deputy leader Gaston Browne, and MPs’ Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin and Eustace “Teco” Lake tried their best to sell an organised and united ALP.
Spokesperson Lionel “Max” Hurst had already laid out the ground work on the Big Issues on Sunday on Observer Radio.
For those of us who follow politics closely, the return of Insight - an ALP propaganda programme - was no surprise.
Bird wanted to let his supporters and those people disappointed with the government know that the ALP was a united force and ready to govern.
Not so fast Mr Bird; the ALP is not united, and that little act may get you an Oscar, but it will never persuade anyone who sees straight through your "performance".
Bird went off script to suggest that the motion of no-confidence that the opposition expects to bring against Spencer will be done by show of hands.
Browne reminded Bird that they had already sent Hurst out to tell the people that it would be done by secret vote, since members of the government side may be intimidated.
The ALP is supposed to be united, yet Browne laid out a plan for the economic citizen programme - something that Bird said was against the consensus of the party.
On Tuesday, Bird and Browne attempted to "throw water" on the EC matter by suggesting they were simply throwing out ideas.
It’s no secret that Browne wants to be the leader of the ALP, but he is mortified of Bird, who with one fell swoop can disrupt Browne’s plans.
There is no fear in unity.
Browne was so fearful of Bird that he took a self-imposed hiatus so as not to appear "power hungry".
Molwyn Joseph, the one ALP member whose level of leadership has given the opposition some level of credence on the controversial Wadadli Power Plant, was not a no-show on Tuesday.
That was not surprising.
The controversy over the WPP is huge.
If relevant information is made public, the government would be in real trouble, especially when there are suggestions that the WPP is now using diesel rather than the cheaper HFO.
The man leading that charge on the WPP is Joseph, noticeably missing from the Insight show.
Joseph is convinced that the engines are old, but Bird and Browne are not persuaded and they made that absolutely clear on Tuesday.
Browne even went as far as to suggest that he knows why the government is not coming clean on this extremely sensitive matter.
Seems like Browne is in bed with the government on this matter, and Bird, whose hands are tied to IHI, is not really sure what to say.
On Sunday, Hurst suggested that motivating the masses to march against the government is too high a price to pay.
Bird agrees, but stayed away from the money issue.
He sees a disconnect between the ALP and the masses.
Perhaps what Bird means is that with all things frozen due to the IHI matter, funds are not readily available.
But it’s not just disunity that is a concern to people of conscience. It’s the ALP’s extremely poor record of governance and its inability to change.
Bird made a huge to-do about the public accounts that have not been presented for six years, he emphasized.
Never during that time did Bird ever suggest what he would do differently to make sure that this would not happen if he was prime minister again.
With Bird as prime minister, the ALP was as bad or worse than the UPP as it pertains to the public accounts.
While Bird and his gang were on ZDK, trying to convince the public that they are united, Davin Joseph was on Observer Radio berating his colleague, Ralph Potter.
Joseph wanted Potter to come clean with the people of All Saints West and tell them why he chose football over the UPP back in 2003.
Perhaps Joseph should ask Bird to tell the people of Antigua & Barbuda about his stewardship as prime minister from 1994 to 2004, including the IHI matter.
Antiguans & Barbudans are seeking transparency and accountability - qualities foreign to both the ALP and the UPP.
The ALP has nothing better to offer the people than the UPP has, but they talk a good talk, that’s it.
If Bird and the ALP want to convince serious people, they must demonstrate a willingness to do things properly.
Why doesn’t Bird get the party members, including Senator Lennox Weston - who almost daily slams Browne on the same radio station that they now suggest that they are united?
Look, it’s not my job to choose the government, but I can express my constitutional rights and voice my opinions from an informed position.
The people deserve better than "the better of two evils".
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