Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Antigua’s Complicity

By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.


I read with interest that a group of people are trying to block Antigua and Barbuda’s effort to get assistance from the IMF. As I understand it, they are charging that “The Pirate of the Caribbean” would not have been able to conduct the massive fraud that he is charged with if Antigua had not been “complicit” in the execution of his purportedly fraudulent activities.

In other words, Antigua’s ‘complicity’ allowed him to do what he did!

I agree!

Let me say it again. I unequivocally, unapologetically, unhesitatingly – agree that Antigua was complicit.

Not only was Antigua (not Barbuda) complicit, but most Antiguans were complicit.

Antiguans were complicit to the point that very few people questioned where he was getting the money from. Thousands of Antiguans benefitted personally and individually from his loot. Hundreds of them ‘backed in their trucks’ to get truckloads of money. People flocked to work for wages which were triple or quadruple what they could get elsewhere.

Politicians, lawyers, civil servants (high ranking civil servants), skilled trade professionals ran up there to get some of the Pirate’s booty.

Politicians from both sides benefitted… personally and party-wide. But it was those guys in red who cleaned up. It is purported that personal housing projects were built from the booty. The politicians were not only complicit… they were responsible… they should have asked questions and found answers rather than pretending to be blind.

And the lawyers… they got dirty rich. One of them… one on the blue side… that came from the red side… we know got a million dollar check just for putting together some papers! And this was money that Antiguans had to pay back to the Pirate! This lawyer – through – the Pirate… got a million dollars of the people’s money just for preparing documents. And even after being elevated by the people… his law firm continued to represent and protect the Pirate. He… his law firm… and the other law firms were complicit.

And those cricketers… years ago some of them did the right thing regarding playing in South Africa… But this time around… they all but prostituted themselves for the Pirate’s money. They were complicit.

Oh… and by the way… let’s not forget those Antiguans who it is purported robbed the Pirate of some of his booty: construction materials, construction equipment, and much more.  They too, it is charged… cleaned him out… They benefitted. They were complicit.

Generally, most people in Antigua, were happy that the Pirate chose Antigua for his operations. Of course he constantly threatened to move to this or that island. And every time he did that… Antiguans gave him more land and more love.

Of course, I am rubbing salt into the wounds of the now disenchanted and depressed Antiguans who had purposely turned blind eyes to what went on.

Did I turn a blind eye? Was I also complicit? The answer is a resounding NO!

Well… maybe… maybe I was complicit. I should have done more… The day that it was announced that the Pirate was under scrutiny… was a sad day for me.

Why? Because although it vindicated what I had been saying for seven years… I thought I should have done more… been more vocal… been on the air… wrote in the newspapers…

But… then I went to my blog and I re-read every article that referenced the Pirate… and I felt a little better… not good… just a little better. I had done something… not enough… but something…

If you conduct a search of this blog… you will find “tons” of references to the “Pirate”. I continuously asked questions about the Pirate and his activities. I criticized the government, the opposition and all those Antiguans who went shuffling to him head bent and hat in hand.

I lambasted the lawyers, the cricketers, the politicians and professionals (some of them good friends) – who lowered their principles, put on sun shades, and worked to prop him up… and fatten their pockets.

The evidence was there that something was amiss. Lots of it: Which billionaire business man do you know develops a two bit landscaping business competing with our local weed-wacker carrying yards men?

Which billionaire – who got his billions through big business – would develop some little mediocre housing project that doesn’t – didn’t… couldn’t make any money?

Which hard working billionaire businessman would throw money at cricket… the only sport in the world that doesn’t and wont ever make money - at least not in this part of the world…?

Which savvy business person would go into a business where you know you are going to lose millions of dollars? Who in their right minds… having made had earned dollars would throw it away on and in the airline business?

Which savvy business minded person would employ fifty or more grounds-men to take care of a cricket field? A field that – yes its pleasing to the eyes… but it doesn’t produce any income!

One day I watched those guys on that field… and that was long before any ‘big’ matches were played there. They were at least 20 of them… sitting around… watching the sprinklers in action. Every now and then they would get up… examine tufts of grass… pull out a worm or two… (or something) and go back to sit and sip in the shade. At least 20 people… getting paid to do absolutely nothing for an activity that made the Pirate absolutely no money!

It dawned on me that this Pirate had money to throw away. And was throwing it away. No one who works hard and earns their money – throws it away like that. No one. No where in the world will you find rich business people doing that. My assessment seven years ago was that… something was wrong…. something was amiss…

And… all those Antiguans – politicians, lawyers, civil servants, professionals, tradesmen, labourers… refused to ask questions…. or seek answers. They just lined up and and went shuffling… knees bent, head bowed… hat in hand… 

They were all complicit. I have said so for seven years. And, I am saying so now.

They were not only complicit. They benefitted.

Let me change that. We benefitted. The nation benefitted. The nation was complicit.