Thursday, March 05, 2009

At What Price?

Have You Been Besotted with Bribes?


Marcus M. Mottley

There is a lot of talk about money being passed around in the cover of darkness… in a dark alley… or in the back of a luxury car… money that is being passed around to buy votes and purchase many other sinister things.

But this information is always shared with a hush...a whisper… driven by the fear that someone close by will hear… or will find out! Information about friends, confidants… and others taking bribes - hush hush and under cover!

The funny thing is that when you hear who is being offered and who decides to take the money, you have to really believe the old saying that “everyone has their price”. And the price, even if it might be costly, does not seem to be a problem since the jolly giver who besots people with these bribes seems to have a deep pocket.

I hear stories of truck loads of things… being doled out…going to people all over the place… particularly in Antigua’s former second town and the people up there near the stadium who are backing in their pick-up trucks when the big red trailer truck rolls up.

I hear that people get fridge, stove, laptop and desktop computers, microwaves, kitchen sets, pots, bathroom sets, comforters and very expensive electronic toys like iPods. And what you don’t see – just ask… you know whatever you want you will get… or at least will be promised to receive.... after elections of course.

I know I said “I hear" and "have heard” and so some of you might say that is hearsay… And yes... I haven’t received any bribes… (too far away)… and no one in my family has. But… actually... it is much more than hearsay! A good friend of my family from the same constituency said… rather boasted that she had received some of these things. And the friend would not make up a story like this on her good friend the ‘jolly giver of the goods’ the one who besots those bribes on both needy and greedy people.

I hear that both needy and greedy people received dollar bills that tumble from those “red shirts that cares!” get a shirt and when you open it, money just fall out… like ‘widi widi manna from… well… from the jolly red shirt giver.

I hear that greedy and needy people are flocking to the jolly giver to get the shirt that cares, because they know that the money will be there. Some of the greedy people even boast that it is the easiest $500.00 they have ever received. After all, the needy ones could use the money, nails to do, hair to do, beer to buy...maybe even they can put it with what they already get from elsewhere to make up child support, pay mortgage, pay the Syrian or Lebanese where they got their TV or living room set or bookshelf...

I heard a story of a boy who got $1700.00, in twenty dollar bills.....the people who counted the bills, just kept counting and counting and counting,..they thought they would never stop. Of course it was from the jolly sized giver who besotted the money on them.

I hear of people who say that the jolly sized giver told them to go by the store for what ever they wanted… I won’t publicize the name of the store…. but it’s the one that always light up for Xmas.

There are also those people who are getting checks – made out in their name and signed by the same jolly giver… And those people who get checks… they are not just asked to vote… Nope. They have some really really serious underhanded things to do for that bribe involving immigration and people coming in from Guyana and Jamaica and who knows where else.

People are being bribed to vote… They are being bribed to keep their mouths shut. They are being bribed to look the other way. They are being bribed to bribe their friends. They are even being bribed to bribe their family members.

And plenty of them…. too many of them are taking the money. People who you would have said are good, solid, God-fearing citizens… are taking the bribes… the hush money…and in return... who knows what evil and illegal deeds they are doing in return?

The takers take in silence… in the dark… in the back of parked luxury cars and SUVs and sometimes – right in their own homes!

No one sees, no one hears.... No one?

As I think of this is I am reminded of a case of thievery. The people of a local community had to constantly replace the plants that they had planted in their efforts to beautify their area.

People just kept taking the plants up and walking off with them…. pots and all…. Yes… ‘tiefing’ them!

Then someone got a very bright idea. Sothey placed a sign in the garden… with the inscription… “God is Watching” and next to those words they drew the picture of an eye… supposedly God’s eye.

The stealing stopped!

So perhaps someone can some up with a way to have everyone in that constituency… the one near the stadium… be reminded that “God is watching”. Maybe we can put up a sign right by that corner with an eye (and an ear too!) so that the “god-fearing” people of that constituency… and others can be reminded that they may be held accountable.

Now, I know... and you know that no sign… however creative.. is going to stop that jolly giver with the red shirt that cares from besotting people with his reportedly fraudulently gained money! He has too much to lose! He will give away all that he has… all… in order to avoid Justice Day. But, Mr. jolly giver in the red shirt…. that day is coming… your money won’t help you…

And it is not only the people in that constituency who he besots. His tentacles are in other constituencies… all over Antigua.

So that sweet and jolly giver… with the red shirt that cares… and who has that store that he ‘pretties up’ each Xmas… is out and about… giving. And people are taking and taking and taking.

He is headed your way. Will you turn him away from his demeaning insults? From his debasing of your ethics? From his undermining of your integrity? Will you do the right thing and let the sweet and jolly giver know that your vote cannot be bought… that you cannot be bought… that your silence cannot be bought…

Are you like so many people who have already shown… so many people have already taken… so many people are already guilty…. Are you one of those who ask for the price and when it is right allow yourself to take the money without being besotted by guilt?

If the answer is yes… that you have taken money… you should be besotted with more than guilt!

If your answer is no… you have taken no money… you will take no money… no matter who tries to buy your vote… Your answer will be no… Good! You are doing the right thing. You are helping to make this election a fair one.

Let those who besot their briberies on you know that you will not be besotted! The price for bribery is never right!