Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and the United Progressive Party (UPP) must be feeling a little bit at ease after the governor general’s reply to a request for a commission of inquiry by opposition leader Lester Bird.
Last week, Bird wrote to Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack asking for an inquiry into the fences scandal and the Wadadli Power Plant.
Lake-Tack shot down Bird’s request: “I have been thoroughly briefed and have all reason to believe that all such recommendations have been implemented. Regarding the Wadadli Power Plant, the Prime Minister the honourable Dr Baldwin Spencer has given an undertaking that the matter will be placed before Parliament shortly and therefore one must duly await the above procedure and refrain from the many alleged accusations you mentioned in your letter.
She added, “Sir, for the said reasons given above, I do not consider a commission of Inquiry neither for the fences or the Wadadli Power Plant is necessary.”
Surely, Bird cannot be surprised at this response, and may be shining up his bullhorn to tell the nation, “I told you so.”
From the day of her appointment, Bird told the nation that Lake-Tack would be partial and often criticized the governor general as being pro UPP.
While those accusations appear to have no merit, doesn’t Bird prove his many points with this decision by the governor general?
Look, I never did and would never condone Bird’s expressions about the governor general and frankly, I think that Bird has been disrespectful of the office of the “Queen".
The question of whether or not this office should go is another matter altogether.
I have said, and I will say again, Bird and the Antigua Labour Party cannot "have their cake and eat it".
They criticize the governor general for being partisan, yet they expect her to act impartially.
That said, however, Lake-Tack should act according to the dictates of her office, and this response is shocking to anyone who viewed her as professional and non-partisan.
My question to the GG is this: who briefed you on the fences matter?
Perhaps it’s Minister of Finance & the Economy Harold Lovell, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, and junior minister in the Ministry of Education and Sports Winston Williams.
Surely an unbiased looked at that report and all that has displayed in Parliament and in the media cannot be satisfactory.
That the recommendations are in place says nothing about what happened to cause the appointment of a committee in the first place.
The financial situation in the country is in crisis mode, and during that time, people are spending monies and overriding the tendering process at the same time.
Please Madame GG, the people of Antigua & Barbuda deserve better than that.
Forget Spencer and the UPP; what about the citizens of this fair state?
How can you sit in your nice office with your fancy garb waiting for Independence Day to display your royal fashion for the nation to see while showing such disdain for the people?
Since the government will not do the right thing, we deserve and inquiry.
And let’s not talk about the price, because those who are found wanting will have to repay.
Now on the Wadadli Power Plant, are you my dear lady suggesting that you will make a decision after Spencer and the UPP say what in Parliament?
That the engines are new or that we got value for money?
They have said that already, and many people who have looked at this objectively are not satisfied.
Will you demand an inquiry if it was found that the government failed to table this huge financial burden for parliamentary approval?
Look, we are faced with a serious problem which the politicians seemingly do not want to address, hence the request of the GG.
If the GG appears to be in the same boat with the politicians, then we the people need to stand up for Antigua, like King Onyan said.
We really do not need the approval of the political parties, ALP nor UPP, neither do we need the approval of the distinguished lady GG.
We have a civic duty to protect our resources, and we should protest whatever we deem wrong in the society.
The power plant matter is not an ALP or UPP matter, but rather an Antigua & Barbuda issue.
The GG has made her feelings known, and it goes against what the majority believe, so we must take matters into our own hands and deal with this according to the tools provided by law.
I would hate to think that Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack is the Queen’s representative dressed in blue.
And I don’t want to hear anything about past GGs in any other colour.
I agree that we have to deal with the demons of the past, but we must make sure that those demons are not a part of us today.
There is just too much left to the imagination, and an inquiry as hurtful as it may be might the only solution.
Of course, if the government clarifies its position and placed every detail on the table in a transparent manner, then there will be no need to spend scarce resources to know what they already know.
Come clean Mr Spencer, and take this matter out of the hands of the Queen. She doesn’t seem to care too much about us anyway.
Ian 'Magic' Hughes is an Antiguan Journalist.
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