Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Voice of the People (Part 2)

The Voice of the People (Part 2)
By Marcus Mottley, Ph.D.

With the coming of popular talk radio to the Antiguan and Barbudan airwaves, everyone could now have a say and expound philosophically on the practical matters that affected their nation, their community, their jobs, their household and their family.

And, no one can doubt that talk radio, specifically Winston Derricks’ “The Voice of the People”, was a ‘monumental’ player in the political developments of March 2004. While people had read Tim Hector’s “Fan the Flame”, they could not respond, interact or ‘have their say’. But with Observer Radio, they called in, they came in, and they emailed in. And when they didn’t do any of those things, the station carried the microphone out into the streets so that all and sundry could have their say on “The Voice of the People”.

So, Antigua and Barbuda has changed. Dramatically so. And it is a good thing.

People are not only reading and listening. Now they are verbally responding. And they now have alternative means (beyond Observer Radio) to let their voices be heard. They are hearing each other and dialoguing together – on all the sides of any issue.

And yes, it is a great thing that has happened. It might even be considered revolutionary. This is an occurrence that politicians in Antigua and Barbuda have taken note of and have started to utilize to serve their various agendas. And that is also a good thing.

This change has brought a measure of sunlight to our shores. Now, very little can be hidden from the people. Underhanded deals will be brought out to light. Corruption will be uncovered in days and weeks, rather the years that it took prior to Observer Radio. Not only will it be uncovered early, it will be discussed by all and sundry before the week is out.

Old and new political leaders, and highly placed government officials no longer have the luxury of the anonymity of their actions. The sad thing is that while the old guard may have gotten the message (many of them are gone)… many of the new guard may have not. Some appear to want to roll back the clock to the days prior to “The Voice of the People” and probably prior to Tim Hector’s “Fan the Flame”.

Some of the new guard, the new elite leaders (elected, appointed & promoted) having benefited from the passionate contributions of the people’s voices, are now wishing for these voices to be silent. Having benefited from the spotlight that was placed on the old guard, some of the new guard now wish to hide in the shadows and even draw the curtains to hide the sunshine.

But that will never happen again. Not in Antigua and Barbuda. The Flames have been Fanned into a Bonfire! They have spread the light across the land. And these flames cannot be dowsed.

Leaders across Antigua and Barbuda are now being held to a high standard – not by people like me with high degrees of education. They are particularly held to a high standard by the people of Antigua and Barbuda who have high degrees of common sense. By the people who now have the tools to articulate their high degrees of common sense.

The “Voices of the People” cannot ever be silenced in Antigua and Barbuda… whether those voices are heard on Observer Radio or any other medium.

As my 91 year old mother likes to say… “A word to the wise ought to be sufficient!”

Antigua and Barbuda has changed.

And, it is a good thing.