Friday, April 27, 2007

The Rising Violence

By Marcus Mottley

The Rising Violence: Let's Take Action - Now!

There is a growing sense of helplessness among Antiguans as we hear and read about the increasing acts of violence - particularly gun violence - that seems to be spinning out of control.

There might have been a time when some people felt that they were safe from the robberies and hold ups that were once the primary acts of violence. Now, everyone realizes that he or she is at risk. We realize that our children are at risk. And we realize that our elderly are at risk.

This is serious.

What is even more serious... and frightening, is the apparent inability of our law enforcement to catch the perpetrators of these violent acts. I am not even talking about preventing the violence... I am referencing 'catching the criminals'. The fact that our law enforcement... who has been agitating for higher salaries... can't catch these criminals means that we are all at risk for the criminals to continue their rampage of violence, thefts, break-ins and other acts of lawlessness.

As an aside... or maybe this is central to the whole issue... is the fact that our law enforcement officers don't seem to understand that there is a correlation between performance, productivity, results... ---- and pay raise!

The Government needs to take immediate and strong action. Now. There is no bigger crisis existing in our nation today than the threat that the violence poses to all of us. It threatens our economy. It threatens our daily lives. It threatens us while we sleep. It threatens our feelings of being safe. It threatens us as we go to work. It threatens us as we go home from work. It threatens us on the bus and in our cars. It threatens us in our homes... our supposedly safe havens. It threatens our children at school and at play.

The Government needs to demand action from the police... and if we don't get results - we need to replace the police leadership with highly trained, highly skilled, results oriented, proven law enforcement leaders from where-ever we can get them. Now for me that is a stretch - since I am adamantly opposed to bringing foreign nationals to our shores and putting them in leadership positions. But we are in a crisis... and so we need to contract the kind of police leadership that presents a modern, sophisticated, technological approach to getting the results that we need. And then we need to give our own young and upcoming police world class training. When we get that new leadership we then need to make available to them the sophisticated forensic and investigative instruments and technology that they need to get the job done.

The Government also needs to begin a comprehensive multi-dimensional violence prevention campaign. This campaign should have several facets:
  1. Violence prevention targeted to adults and involve public education in conflict resolution & negotiation and anger management.
  2. Mechanisms available to the public that include mediation services and conflict resolution services. Some of these should be availed through the courts whereby individuals might be 'sentenced' to attend anger management or conflict resolutions classes.
  3. Violence prevention targeted to young adults and teenagers who are out of school. This would involve education in some of the above subjects. However, two key areas of focus would be job skills training and drug prevention education.
  4. Violence prevention and drug education activities at all schools and at all grade levels. The focal points of these school-based trainings would be: Life skills (effective communication, conflict resolution, self-esteem building, study skills for academic success, how to deal with negative peer pressure and bullying, etc.), values education and character building educational programming.
  5. An integrated and comprehensive island-wide network of after-school activities involving academics (home-work help, remedial work, etc), guided sports activities (with a values education component), performing arts (plays, dance, etc), computer & technology, and art.
  6. Treatment programs for drug addiction and alcoholism. The Government needs to contract with qualified counseling professionals to provide confidential and ongoing treatment services to addicts and alcoholics. Such services should be provided at every clinic.
  7. Rehabilitation Services for Juvenile Offenders. This is seen by well placed officials as a critical need. Such services would include some of those mentioned above.
  8. A Probation and Parole Office should be developed to monitor and track the activities of criminal offenders. This office should also oversee the provision of re-entry programs for offenders who are re-entering society. These services would entail job training, mental health services and substance abuse services.
I could go on. But I think that you get the picture. The Government has to develop and implement NOW a comprehensive and integrated program to deal with this menace to society. Failure to adequately address the crisis of violence in our society will lead to such deterioration that it will negatively impact the bright future of our twin island state.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

They Chased Us Away

By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.

What has happened in Antigua and the rest of the Caribbean during the current Cricket World Cup showcase has a huge significance for us.

The most critical issue of course is the draconian, colonialistic restrictions that CWC organizers placed on the islands hosting the matches.

The very nature of the restrictions placed on us by CWC organizers reminds me of what I have read of our colonial history. CWC came to our shores… used our facilities… had us spend millions of dollars of infrastructural development and then restricted us from putting our stamp on the games. They restricted us from marketing our local products. They restricted our local companies from marketing their services. They restricted our people from behaving and acting like Antiguans, Barbudans, Guyanese, Trinidadians, Barbadians, Jamaicans, Kittians, Grenadians, St. Lucians… They restricted us from being who we are.

And we allowed them. We kowtowed to them. We said, “Yes Masah!” “Anything you say, Masah!” “You get anything you want, Masah.” "You want anything else, Sah?"

Veteran cricket writer Tony Becca says it is the International Cricket Council (ICC) that is responsible for the poor involvement of the local people in the showpiece event. “They (the ICC and organizers) want tourists from other parts of the World to come but ignored the local populations” Becca said. He also said, “I have covered many World Cups and what I saw (in the past) was that the majority of the crowd has been local.” He continued, “The ICC thought the World Cup as a golden goose and chased the local people out assuming that large numbers would come from abroad and they would not need local support.”

And so, they chased us away.

One hundred US dollars for a ticket! That is $270 Eastern Caribbean Dollars. In a region where many people don’t even earn that in a week… the CWC organizers were really catering to the rich, the elite business class and to the so-called tourists.

So, they chased us away.

And the seats which were available to the local populations were limited. Very limited. At least… they were limited until the last moment when CWC realized that their thousands and thousands of tourists just weren’t coming.

And they lied about the numbers.

At first we heard that 50,000 ‘tourists’ were coming to Antigua. We were going to have to get cruise ships to accommodate all those tourists since we did not have enough rooms and beds here. Entrepreneurs were encouraged to invest in bed and breakfast accommodations and build motels. Ordinary citizens were encouraged to spruce up empty rooms in their houses to accommodate the thousands of CWC ‘tourists’ who would need a room for a few nights! Then the figures were downgraded… to 30,000… to 20,000… to 15,000… to... well... who knows what the final figures will be?

Now we weren't talking about Barbadians, Jamaicans, Guyanese and Trinidadians coming here. And they certainly weren't talking about Antiguans and Barbudans returning home for the matches… nope. ICC/CWC didn’t care about them… and didn’t factor them in.

And of course, they didn’t care about us either.

So they didn't factor us in. Instead, they chased us away.

Why did they do that? They certainly didn’t expect the Caribbean masses to buy those US$100 tickets! They expected the seats to be filled with Australians, New Zealanders, British… and with a scattering of Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan supporters.


Or were they making sure that the West Indies Team would not have the massive numbers of supporters who would form a powerful 12th man?

Now there are other ways they made sure that even those of us who were foolish enough to want to buy those costly tickets could not get them. I stood in a line of 60 persons at their one purchasing site in St. Johns for one hour. In that one hour, they processed five persons!!! I left my son in the line, went home, got online, purchased the tickets, went back to the purchasing office, waved my receipt in the face of the security guard, walked inside and picked up my tickets. My son was still in line – facing a four to five hour wait!

They chased us away and I should have stayed away. But… I wanted the exposure for my sons… That’s a limp argument… because…

They chased us away.

Of course, I guess ICC/CWC had a colonial view of us. They probably didn’t expect locals to be 'sophisticated' enough to purchase their tickets online. Almost all the people who were in the expedited line with online receipts were Aussies or Brits!

Yep, they intended to chase us away. It worked… because we have stayed away.

Why? Because we clearly understand… this is not our ‘ting’. This is their thing. So they can have it…

There are other issues of course. Like the wimpish, spineless negotiators who represented us. Like the spinning that is being done by our local officials about how we will benefit in the future as a result of spending over $300 million. Like the financial impact on tourism during this period that stems from those stupid visa requirements… Like the fact that it took the advent of CWC to push our government to fix sidewalks and some roads...

But those issues are for another day.

Today, they chased us away.

So, tomorrow and the next day… and the next day... we will stay away.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

New Sidewalks!

By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.

My 92 year-old mother is singing the praises of the UPP government. Why? Because when she goes to shop in St. Johns, she can walk along the sidewalks without fear of being hit by a car. She likes the wider, flatter and lower sidewalks. The only things she says that she has to look out for are those red painted, poorly designed grates. She says that the bars should be placed closer together. But, she is not really complaining.

So… she is thankful and surprised.

Why surprised? Well… the sidewalks and the road improvements were not there the last time she walked through the city. She is amazed at the speed with which the project is being completed. She is further amazed, because in Antigua, it is highly unusual for projects… particularly public projects… especially public projects conducted by Public Works… to be done quickly. And when you add… efficiently, effectively and attractively… well that is historically unheard of.

Now she knows that Public Works had help. She knows that the Cubans seemed to have put us to shame and that that might have provided the necessary prick on our pride to spur our Public Works’ staff to respond positively to the challenge. And respond they have… and well… so far… so good.

But the stronger prick and push came not from the Cubans but from the imminent arrival of Cricket World Cup. For months… maybe longer… just about everyone in the country has been fussing about the need to fix the roads… all roads. Even some Ministers of the current Government seemed to have been discontented with the situation. There were charges from some elected officials that the Ministry of Finance was not releasing the money for public projects. There were counter charges that Public Works was not providing the proper documentation to request the necessary funds.

But all of the squabbling dissipated when everyone realized that the opening date for CWC was just around the corner! There was a deadline. There was no getting around it. There was no getting away from it. The date was set in stone. So the stones had to be worked. And so, what needed to be done was done – quickly. And the city is being transformed.

So it took the imminent arrival of CWC to drive our Government to implement this project of upgrading the city. According to local DJ and radio personality Serpent, it seems as though we need to bring CWC here to Antigua every month in order for Government to complete all of the projects that it has promised.

Sad… but true.

So… what other events might we the people highlight that would get a similar response from the Government? How can we get the Government to fix all the roads and alleys? How can we influence them, or push them to really make significant adjustments to the airport? What can we do to get them to implement serious programming to address the apparently high levels of crime and violence? What kind of pricking is needed to have them foster deep and lasting improvements to our education system?

And what do we have to do to get any Government… UPP or whoever… to continuously deliver on the projects that they promise?

Elections? Maybe we should have some kind of election every two years. I think that we need to change from an appointed Senate to an elected one. Then we need to change elections for the Lower House from every five years to every four years. The Senate would also be elected every four years. Both elections would be held two years apart. So, for example, the next election for the Lower House would be held in 2008 (and every four years thereafter), and the elections for our new Senate would be held in 2010 (and every four years thereafter.

That would keep politicians hopping. That would keep them delivering. And, we the people would see a never ending stream of projects – creatively, efficiently, effectively and attractively done – just like the sidewalks in St. Johns.

By the way… why were the grates painted red?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

In Search Of ... Educational Data

By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D

On Saturday, February 25th 2005, Bill Gates blasted the state of U.S. high schools in a speech before the National Association of Governors Education Summit in the Washington, DC.

Listening to Gates on C-Span, I was compelled to compare his concerns about the state of education in America to my own concern about the state of education in Antigua and Barbuda.

Gates said that he was “ashamed” and “appalled” at the failure rates for students. He called America’s high schools broken, flawed and under-funded, and said the system itself is obsolete. Gates comments were fueled by the fact that “statistics” showed that when compared to twenty other ‘developed’ nations (mainly European countries) American education ranked quite low in most areas.

I struggled to compare our education with that of any other country outside the Caribbean. Why? Because, while educational ‘statistics’ are easily obtainable in any district or state in America, getting information on our students in Antigua and Barbuda is downright difficult – if not almost impossible. ‘Difficult’ because what ever little data have been collected, they are not easily available or accessible. ‘Almost impossible’ because a lot of the data have not been collected and collated to be made sense of and then reported!

I could fill this article with hundreds of questions that have been burning within me for years. Questions for which, many of my friends in education have had either no answers to, avoided, or presented circuitous, pathetic, ‘shameful’, ‘appalling’ and at best, poor defensive retorts.

Here are a few questions: What is the reading level of students who enter First Form in our secondary schools? And, by the way, is there a way to measure the level those students are reading at? What percentage of them need remedial work in mathematics (or Reading, Writing, or English) when they first enter the secondary education system? How many of the students who enter First Form graduate on time? Which Form do they tend to repeat the most? How many graduate at all?

Do we have data on all students and in all schools as they move from grade to grade or from form to form? In other words, can and do we track students from the time they enter the formal educational system until they graduate (or drop out)? By the way, what are our drop-out rates? I mean the ‘real figures’? For those who drop out… what propels them to leave? Is it age, poor academic results, poverty and family pressure to work, drug and alcohol use, gangs, negative peer pressure, pregnancy, or just a lack of motivation to complete their education?

How many post-primary students graduate on time? Are they tracked differently from those students who enter the secondary school at First Form? What general difficulties do the Post Primary Students have and in which subject areas do they have problems? Are these problems different from their peers who entered directly into First Form?

What does graduation mean anyway? Does it mean that a student has ‘completed’ Fifth Form? Or, does it mean that the student has successfully met a pre-determined standard of achievement? And, what is this standard of achievement and how is it measured?

When a student enters the secondary level, what ought to be his/her minimum goals for success at ‘graduation’? Should it be to pass five CXC subjects at a certain level? Should it be to ‘just get through’ 5th Form – that being the key to attend the ‘graduation ceremony’? Or should there be something else? What does ‘get through’? Does it mean that the student reached 5th Form, stayed in 5th Form until the end of the school year… even though he or she did not pass any subjects?

If the standard of achievement is taking the CXC Examinations, then what is the standard of achievement that says to a student: “You have successfully met the minimum requirements to be designated as a ‘Secondary School Graduate’”? And, if such a student has met those minimum requirements for ‘graduation’… should that student not get a Secondary School Diploma from the Ministry of Education?

I have presented in this article, a few of the many questions that I and many others need answers to. The intention here is not criticize but to critique, not to impeach but to inspire, not to enrage but to engage our leaders in education to look at the deeper issues. My purpose here is to encourage them not only to inform, not only to reform, but to radically transform the Antiguan and Barbuda education system – not the OECS, not CARICOM… but the Antigua and Barbuda education system!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ho, Ho, Ho!

By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.

Recent headlines across the Caribbean state “LIAT To Buy C-Star!” Other headlines also indicate that C-Star will Lend shareholder governments US$55 million” to buy C-Star and pay their debts!

C-Star will lend LIAT money to buy C-Star from C-Star???

According to one newspaper, this was said by Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, who apparently is the spokesman for the LIAT shareholder governments. Gonsalves also reported said. “We are buying Caribbean Star… the question is whether we buy the assets or we buy the whole airline!”

I was floored... once again. Knocked down! I couldn’t believe it. Once again our leaders have allowed themselves to be swindled by THE modern day pirate of the Caribbean. In broad daylight. Conned not only right in front of the faces… but by their own willing agreement!

Something else is going on. It can’t be just stupidity!

Let’s look at this a little more closely. Now… let me be clear… I am not trying to be an analyst! I am just simply trying to understand this issue.

  • C-Star was founded to compete with LIAT.
  • C-Star competed aggressively with LIAT and by all accounts C-Star purposely and successfully undermined LIAT’s profitability by establishing predatory pricing practices!
  • From the very beginning, it was obvious that C-Star’s leadership's primary goal was to fatally wound LIAT and bring it down. All of this so that C-Star would then become the choice airline of the islands and in the process... it would swallow LIAT!
  • That did not happen!
  • Yes LIAT was wounded. But in the process C-Star was losing money in gushes.

And so, C-Star’s leadership seems to have revised it’s plan…

What was the new plan? Well, they needed to stop the millions of dollars that was gushing down the C-Star toilet. So… why not sell C-Star to LIAT?

Hey… not only will “I” stop my money from gushing into the toilet… but I will get back some of the money that I lost. Unhuh --- But they won’t have the money to buy C-Star… so if I lend them the money to buy C-Star and pay off some of their debts, I will get more of my money back from the interest on the loan. Ho, Ho Ho and a bottle of Cavalier Courvoisier Cognac!

Yep... And, if those leaders are as foolish as they have been, as part of the deal… not only will I “sell” C-Star to them – not only will I lend them the money so that they can buy my failed C-Star from me – But maybe I will also get them to give me 35% of LIAT in the process! Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of Sunset Rum Johnny Walker!

What a plan!

  1. I sell C-Star to LIAT! I unload the failed C-Star on those governments! Now their money will be gushing down the toilet!
  2. I lend them the money to buy C-Star from me to pay off some of their debts. So now they owe me… and I will continue to reap the benefits from the interest for years and years…
  3. I also get to own 35% of LIAT! As a result I become the single majority shareholder!!! Ho, Ho, Ho!
  4. Plus, they will come back to beg me more money… Most airlines all over the world are failing… LIAT will not make it - not without me and my great leadership (even though I couldn’t make C-Star successful). So when they borrow more money from me… I will increase my shares… until I own most of it…! In addition, I will not only get more land in Antigua… I will get land in St. Vincent too… I don’t think I can fool those Bajans… but why not try? I got those Bajan cricketing greats… so maybe I can get the politicians… too. Although that Mia Mottley (notice the name)… seems to be different!
  5. So, this will enhance my ability to execute my master plan... (more on this in another BLOG) HO, Ho, Ho and a bottle of Mount Gay Chardonnay.

Explain "Why" to me!

So, can someone explain to me why our illustrious government leaders have agreed to this nefarious plan?

Maybe it is I who don’t understand! Maybe it is because I am not an economist… or maybe I am slow… or worse… daft!

But something else is going on... this cannot be just plain stupidity. As one of those leaders said several months ago… “When we explain it… everyone will understand.”

Well, I need to hear that explanation because right now, it seems to me our leaders are not only willing… but enthusiastic victims of the buccaneering exploits of the #1 pirate of the Caribbean!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Can YOU Imagine?

Can you imagine that man called our Prime Minister a liar?
Can you imagine that man said that our Prime Minister is an inept leader?
Can you imagine that man called our Prime Minister deceitful?
Can YOU imagine that man called OUR Prime Minister misguided?
Can YOU imagine that man called YOUR Prime Minister un-statesmanlike?

Can you imagine that this same man, after having called our Prime Minister a liar, a misguided, deceitful, un-statesmanlike and an inept leader that he is appealing to Antiguans and Barbudans to be on his side?

Can YOU imagine?

I can imagine. Yep. I can!

Not only did he insult OUR Prime Minister… but in so doing he insulted both YOU and I… His very demeanor has been an insult to us. His every action has been to insult us. He has insulted us with every word he utters. His every position is a calculated insult to us.

There are thousands of us in Antigua and Barbuda, and thousands of us around the world who have been warning that the same man has ulterior motives… that his intentions are not good… at least not for us… and not even for those Judas Antiguans he pays a couple pieces of his tarnished silver coins to do his dirty work for him. Shame on him… and shame on all those around him.

I hasten to add that some of the people who slave for him are just ordinary workers… ordinary Antiguans who found work in his company. For many of them their public responses are different from their private responses. In one word… they dislike him intensely… but they love his money. Of course… the higher their positions the more they have to display their loyalty… But our criticisms are not targeted at them.

Our criticisms are targeted at the local overseers and those over-sea-ers!

Anyway… Finally, the Honourable, W. Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, an honest, sensitive and sensible, peaceful and peace-loving, concerned and committed, born and bred, roots man Antiguan… has awakened… has put on his armor, and is ‘stiffening his sinews’! He now has the ‘look in his eye’ and the fierceness in his spirit. This is the man who said to Antiguans and Barbudans: "We got them! We got them!"

And Now he can say... "We got him! No let he go - We got him!"

And there are those of us who say… “At last! At last! Finally!”

There were signs of it coming since his Xmas speech when he demoted the turncoat investor… who now has gone back to showing his real colors – red of course! He never left… only pretended and undermined the whole UPP machinery. Even destroying the good relationship… the almost life long relationship… the brothers-in-arms relationship… between the Deputy and the Leader! But now... he is gone!

And so too – is that unhealthy alliance with that man, that pirate who insulted OUR Prime Minister... and who insulted both YOU and I.

Spencer Declares War! Yes!!!!

Finally, the Honourable Prime Minister W. Baldwin Spencer has asserted his leadership and has declared war! I present to you the full text of his historic speech!

Presentation by Prime Minister W. Baldwin Spencer to the United Progressive Party’s General Council Meeting held at Freedom Hall on Newgate Street, St. John’s, Antigua on Sunday, 25 Feb.

Brothers and sisters, I want to specially welcome you here today and to say how much your presence is appreciated. Thanks again for your response to my appeal in my press release of last Friday.

I wish to begin my presentation today with a quote from Shakespeare which seems most appropriate at this time: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures. "

My purpose now, therefore, is to catch the rising tide and use it in order to float safely over the present sandbar which blocks the entrance to our harbour of peace, love and prosperity.

Brothers and sisters, the arrogant Allen Stanford dreams of owning all of Antigua & Barbuda and all its citizens. Just like slavery days.

Can you imagine in response to my press release, he had the gall to print, in his newspaper yesterday, that I should go “strutting around” my constituency more often to see the deplorable conditions that exist there? Isn’t this the very constituency I have always lived in and represented for some 17 years?

Mr. Stanford, we may be poor, but we have pride. Being poor doesn’t mean that our women are going to take their men up to you for you to beat them. We have passed that stage. We are now an independent nation.

Shakespeare also said, “When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain." My words today I hope will not fail me, but if they should, I crave your indulgence as this is a most moving and emotional time for me. I come with a humble heart and penitent spirit to admit that with all the excitement and sudden flush of power after successfully contesting the last general elections, your sunshine government, under my leadership, may have departed from our Agenda for Change with regard to dealing with Allan Stanford. In spite of the various rumours you may have heard, however, your government has never consummated any agreement with Allen Stanford or any of his various enterprises on the Dato Tan Guiana Island project.

Allen Stanford has turned out to be a man with whom it is not possible to negotiate because he is only concerned with us giving in to his demands. He refuses to understand that the nation has concerns of its own and that certain things are just not negotiable from our point of view. We have earnestly tried to work with this man, but we have found it impossible to reach any accommodation with him.

As a consequence, I am firmly of the view that all further investment which includes acquisition of any more crown land by him should be denied.

Brothers and sisters, I must take this opportunity to state that Phillip Abbott, the Minister of Helps and all those other concerned citizens who stuck their necks out to be heard on this Allen Stanford issue were absolutely right . This must be recognized, and I apologize to all of them.

I told you on 2 Dec., 2004 that “I trust the wisdom of the Antiguan and Barbudan people in this, as in all other matters.” Today, I still trust your wisdom.

Since the demise of the Progressive Labour Movement in 1976, our former chairman, Tubby Derrick, one of the founding members of this party, has maintained that for political parties to endure, they must have a history and a lasting philosophy.

He was most upset when people in the PLM formed themselves into factions and various other political parties in order to satisfy their individual ambitions and wishes.

It may have given those individuals who were in the vanguard a feeling of achieving power and even ecstasy, but it condemned the opposition movement in this country to 28 years of suffering in the political wilderness under the despotic Antigua Labour Party.

Today, we are fortunate, for, we have a united political party called the United Progressive Party which holds the reigns of government in our country. It has a lasting philosophy known as “People First” which has served us well. And today, it has been responsible for bringing us together once again, to discuss matters with a sense of focus and urgency.

Today, however, we add another building block to the historical structure which Brother Derrick insists is a necessity. This “Building Block” is the way I, as the leader of the ruling political party, am presenting my case to you, its loyal and long-suffering membership and by extension the citizens of Antigua & Barbuda.

This building block will also contain the important decision at which you, as responsible members of the party, will have to arrive at after due deliberation. In essence, it is how we conduct our business today.

I am aware that I cannot always be right in my decisions of governance, and I will always be prepared to listen to my party membership and make adjustments as necessary.

Brothers and sisters – there is strength in unity. “Widi widi”, one of our national emblems, should be a reminder to us of what is possible when we work together in unison. Our forebears ate it during their struggle and survived their Waterloo.

They prospered because of their faith and confidence in each other.

We, today, who are better eduted, better nourished in body if not in soul, have trained our people to attend to our health and welfare needs. Will we not stand up, face the struggle and prosper?

Is there still not strength in unity? Of course there is!

Let us not be afraid of the future.

It is in our hands and it is our responsibility to mould it so that our future generations can be proud of our stewardship.

Therefore it is imperative that we unite. We’ve got a war on our hands. A war to save our nation from those investors who wish to return to colonial days and slavery.

I wish to hereby declare, to you the loyal supporters of this party, any one of my ministers who does not want to stand up and fight Allen Stanford and any other like-minded investor, I will accept your resignation right now.

We are definitely not returning to the colonial days.

Not under a UPP government!

Brothers and sisters, my 2 Dec., 2004 address contained a request for you to trust me to always do the right thing for you, and indeed for all Antiguans and Barbudans. Today, I promise you that I will keep my word.

I must admit, my burden of office seems lighter since making this report. I ask for your assistance in bridging the divide which developed between party and the Sunshine Government which you worked so hard to put in office.

I trust that you will accept that every decision I make as your prime minister, and as your chief servant, is made in good faith.

As I now invite you to make your contributions to the debate, let me remind you that we should do so in a way that is clear and responsible.

Since I’ve been quoting Shakespeare, in closing let me also remind you of these few lines from Henry V:

“In peace nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect.”

I thank you for listening.