Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What They Always Knew About the Pirate!

But Was Afraid To Say... Out Loud!!!

By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.

I don't know anyone in Antigua who has not been uncomfortable with the obscene flaunting of money around Antigua over the last ten years or so. I don't personally know anyone who was not suspicious that something was 'fishy' about all that money being thrown around 'willy nilly'!

In one of my last blogs I wrote about people being paid good salaries to do nothing... or next to nothing: A thousand dollar per week to trim hedges; $800 per week to water lawns and pluck weeds from the grass; Thousands of dollars per week to lay tile... and then the same persons are told to take up the same tiles three or four times in order to correct a minor - 1 centimeter wide flaw! Of course these tiles are the most expensive... Ceramic tiles made in Milan... Expensive... very expensive... Dig them up... the whole floor actually... and replace them to correct the error!

Other executive and professional types were hired, placed in air-conditioned offices... to do what? Again absolutely nothing! As a matter of fact, I understand that a former Government official, who had a highly visible Ministry job, said just before he went over to his new digs, "A fuh me time now... a fuh me time now!" Time for what... to make real money of course... said to be in excess of $15,000 per month... US dollars of course! And now... that same former, highly visible, very talkative official, now sits with downcast eyes, at his desk... with absolutely nothing to do... just like those guys watering the grass after it rains. Doing absolutely nothing and collecting a fat paycheck. Apparently he ran afoul of the Pirate of the West Indies for giving him bad advise about how to intervene in Rural West!

Major businesses were started that had absolutely no chance of making a profit. No chance. None. Zero. And when I say major businesses - I mean investments in the billions... sky high investments!!! And then those sky-high businesses were later sold for pennies on the dollar... after losing God alone knows how many millions of dollars.

Anyway... I digress... We always knew that something was afoul and now something is afoot. I don't know of any pirate that did not get his comeuppance. A rapier in the heart... a musket ball to the chest... a hangman's rope... But these are modern times. And just like modern pirates have evolved in their pirating ventures so have those who search for and eventually destroy them.

But we are ahead of ourselves... no such final drama has played out... yet! What is being played out on the world's front pages, online and offline, is the pubic scarring and tarnishing of the Pirate of the West Indies.

I hope that this is a lesson to all those who believe that we in Antigua.. the West Indies... the Caribbean... should seek and find, wine and dine the types of investors who are willing to flaunt their riches and give away money like water. Of course some of the those same people... particularly the politicians... were not averse to holding out their hands... above and beneath the table... to collect some of the crumbs that fell from the Pirate's mustache and from his table!

And, of course, not only were our politicians willing to line up to get some crumbs... but so were some of the West Indian most notable sporting figures. How can we forget the very recent gladiator like spectacle when a pirate's ransom was won by his mascots!

Again... I digress... I guess you heard the news... And in doing my research today I found out that the Pirate of the West Indies had problems with the US Drug Enforcement Agency in 1999 with pirated drug money which found its way into his treasure chest. He eventually had to pay millions of dollars to the US Government.

Let's be clear... no one is gloating. No one is glad at what has happened. Remember that a lot of ordinary and innocent folk has invested in many of the Sir Pirates vessels and others have put their money's in his treasure vaults for 'safe keeping'. In that they erred... How can you give your hard earned dollars to a pirate whose only goal is plunder for profit?

Let us hope that this big international situation does not seriously impact our small country.

Let us hope that our politicians on both sides learn that we should not try to attract shady investors like the Pirate. They did not do, have not done their due diligence... any land lubber could see that the pirate was after the lands that we love.

Let us hope that our leaders - on both sides - will no longer be blinded by shiny pieces of ill-gotten silver waved before our faces then snatched from sight!

I don't wish ill on anyone... And because life is precious... I hope that the Sir Pirate comes out of this fully alive... having not lost physically... and surviving with at least a patch over one eye and a wooden leg! The Antiguan parrot who he bought to labour at his side... should move to his sit on his shoulder!