Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Right Track! Right Direction! Wrong Speed!

By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.

I am reminded of an old car that I once had. I had problems with the windows... When I tried to wind up the glass for the left front door... it would go up real, real slowly. I checked it! It was not off track... it was on the right track between the rubber frame. But, for some reason... it was very tight! It was going up... in the right direction! But it was frustratingly slow... until I sprayed some lubricant on the track! Then... whishhhhhh - up it went! Right Track! Right Direction! Really Quickly! Just as it should!

This article should be seen as a little lubricant for the UPP - that they need to use after we re-elect them!

Those of us who have supported the UPP over the years knew that when and if they were ever elevated by the people to be the stewards of our government they would need more than one term to put our country back on the right track and heading in the right direction.

And they have done that... more or less! There are many things they can be critiqued and criticized for. But the one criticism that I have - even understanding that they need more than one term - is that they have moved much two slowly.

The Mount St. John's Hospital; The Car Park; The St. John's Library; The two major projects that had been planned for Rural West; The Airport Project; Conducting a thorough revamping of the Civil Service; The Transportation Board Building at Herberts... and those are the projects that jump out of my mind without doing any research.

Yes... they have had problems... But problems are what we put them there to solve. Yes... these are major projects... but major projects are the natural and normal domain of governments.

Yes, there were management and administrative problems... But much of that was because they embraced the ALP way of running government by allowing Ministers to administrate and manage rather than making policy decisions and allowing their technocrats, consultants and administrators to do the job of developing, implementing and delivering!

Another reason for some of their management and administrative problems had to do with the UPP's decision not to crack and crush the stranglehold that the ALP leaning permanent secretaries had on every ministry and their collectively purposeful decision to stymie their new UPP Ministers.

Slow was the go as the UPP tried to deliver its Agenda for Change!

So, for the most part, they have been on the right track. They are heading in the right direction. But, they are moving much too slowly.

Only now, on election eve, are we seeing progress with the some of the efforts regarding the allegations of corruption. In many communities, we are now seeing new roads or re-paved roads. In other communities, new lights poles have gone up. In others, clinics have opened, a few sports facilities have been developed and a few others fenced.

Just yesterday, we heard that the UPP Government had received the Lindquist report. Even more importantly, reportedly the Government received a settlement from Bruce Rappaport which amounted to US$12 Million!

All of this on the eve of the election.

What does this say to me? It says that the UPP can move more quickly when the push is on... when the heat is on... when they must!

Being on the right track and going in the right direction is only two thirds of what's needed. You need to be fast!

My mother is 94 years old, and she remembers when it took two weeks to travel to England by boat. Now you can get there within eight hours. In this age of speed... we now have email instead of snail-mail (post office mail). We have instant messaging versus telex and cable messages. Whether you are in Antigua or any part of Africa, the technology is available so that you can now see some of the UPP's meetings on live video stream as they happen. We have video conferences where the consultant in Washington DC can attend and take part in the meeting in your High Street office along with you and your colleagues... virtually!

We cannot wait for the snail's pace of the slow train... even if it is on the Right Track and going in the Right Direction! UPP needs to really speed it up!

Speed up the development in the Point area, in the Gray's Green Community, in Old Road, and in all the other communities in Antigua!

We need speed to deal with the deepening economic crisis that is hammering the world. It is clear that that tsunami is about to hit Antigua... we need speed in our preparations and in our responses... rather than speedy excuses and explanations as to what took us so long to respond.

We have a generation of young people who will not tolerate the "It takes patience" and "We got to get it right" mentalities! As a matter of fact, they won't understand those mindsets... it is foreign to them.

Why is this important for the UPP? Well, maybe not now... but definitely in the next election, a significant percentage of these young people will be voting. They will have heard this year's excuses and they will not want to hear them again. I don't and neither will they.

Get that UPP train running at full speed... as a matter of fact you may need to put in a new engine... and if it runs so quickly that it goes a little off track... well... no problem. We will bring it back on track at full speed... while turning corners... even adjusting our direction... without slowing down.

Right Track! Right Direction!

Now let's get plenty Acceleration!