Friday, February 27, 2009

A “Red Letter Day”

By Marcus M. Mottley

Today, February 27th, 2009 is a “red letter day” in the annals of the history of Antigua and Barbuda. On this day, the Government, under the leadership of Baldwin Spencer, made a courageous decision. It decided to take back what was pirated from us!

Now… to be fair to the pirate (not that I want to or feel any obligation to be fair to him) he had plenty of help in his piracy. Some may say that his piratical acts had some kind of legal standing. But I say, legal or not… the pirating of Antiguan lands was not right… is not right… and it does not matter what kind of legal papers he and his ‘red mates’ buccaneered.

Yesterday was also a “Red Letter Day” – a scarlet day really - because of the sorry display of concern showed by the pirate’s mates. They showed their true colors! One after the other they stood up and disgraced themselves in their unflinching support for the disgraced pirate of the West Indies. But, I guess they should support him fully since one or two of them, even though their checks are reportedly bouncing… have properties and land holdings that came straight out of monies from the pirates ill-gotten ‘pieces of eight’ (pirate coins).

For them, it was a “Red Letter Day” and scarlet day of disgrace!

In listening to them, it sounded as if he was whispering in their ears. They could not have represented him any better. I listened as the cute one warned that the government should wait.  A reasonable warning if one is myopic. But myopic he is not… so there must be another more invisible reason… Remember the source of this caution… certainly not from someone who has proven to be cautious in the past…. passports, labour permits… etc.

I listened as one UPP Minister described the potential disaster that faces us if the SEC’s receiver gets jurisdiction of the lands around our airports.

I listened yesterday as another UPP Minister… one who used to benefit from courting the pirate, described the litany of reasons why the Government needed to take quick and decisive actions. This minister, the one who used to court the pirate, did a good job in outlining the facts… Now I suggest to him that his company divests itself fully from the pirate rather than giving paid for support on one hand and pretending to ‘officially’ criticize on another. But that is another matter for another day. Forgive me, I digress.

I listened as the Prime Minister detailed the many concerns that the Government had for the people of Antigua and Barbuda, for the workers at the pirates companies, and for the many persons who were owed monies by the pirate!

It is interesting to note that many of those persons who worked for the pirate and those companies and small business whom he contracted are members and supporters of the red army! Now here it is that the very Government that they sought to displace… the very party that many of them have railed and actively campaigned against in recent weeks… that very party is trying to save their red hides… and necks!

But… they are Antiguans and Barbudans… well… some of them… And, we must look out for them…

So for them, this is a “Red Letter Day” too. They will be able to keep their jobs and run their business… and reconsider who they should vote for!

Today is a “Red Letter Day” of disgrace for those leaders on the red side. They want us to wait to see if there is more evidence of piratical wrong doing and we should wait to see if the SEC was going to bring charges against the pirate!

Do they not read? Do they not notice the long list of horrendous illegal shenanigans that had been perpetrated on people all over the world by this global pirate who resided in Antigua… A pirate who they helped nurture when he was just learning his piratical trade? Are they not ashamed of the role that they and their red group played in helping him to build his piratical, illegal empire?

They want us to wait? Well… the U.S. Government is not waiting! The pirate’s hench-woman was arrested yesterday and today she is facing serious charges. I think the prosecution asked for US$1 Million in bail but it was set at US$300,000.  Guess who is next!

So, the Government has taken its courageous stance while the pirate’s red chums have demonstrated not caution but cowardice.

But their cowardice is understood… They are hoping that the pirate is exonerated… or better yet… not even charged! They are hoping that neither they nor their surrogates’ names are documented in any of the many documents that have been and are being seized. They are hoping that they will still get the $15 Million dollars that he promised them. They are hoping that they will not have to give back any of the ‘pieces of eight’ that they might have received…

They are hoping that this whole thing will go away before March 12th.

The Government today put Antigua in a position where we now own what we should not have given away. No… we are not in the clear… There probably are a lot of legal battles ahead of us.

But, today, we are in a stronger position than we were in yesterday… we can now fight from a position of strength.

Today, we are in a better position than we were five years ago when the red army was giving our lands away willy nilly as their primary… one and only… investment and development strategy.

On March 12th Antiguans and Barbudans will ensure that the people responsible for nurturing and harboring the Caribbean’s worst pirate ever… will suffer his fate. Only two weeks ago, they were tying their political fortunes and the future of Antigua and Barbuda to the future and fortunes of their buccaneering champion. On March 12th they will collectively suffer his scarlet fate.