Low Earth Orbit - Behind the Boundaries

The cats have been set among the pigeonsWell, dearly beloved … if we thought the plots were thickening before, they are really beginning to congeal now! The cats have been set among the pigeons, and all hell has broken loose in all parties.

The frenetic scene is both entertaining and frightening to watch, like standing too close to an enraged nest of red-and-blue ants, marvelling as the tiny bad-tempered creatures charge about looking for something to bite – and hoping like hell that none of them starts crawling up my pants leg. That would really trigger a bona fide mad fandango – and maybe a strip tease as well.

That’s one of the reasons it pays to spend a healthy amount of time in low Earth orbit: it insulates the intellect from excessive contact with down-to-Earth realities in home base Antigua & Barbuda. Frankly speaking, at this point Yours Truly has got to let it all hang out – because what is carrying on right now in the name of governance and politics in this little country is ludicrous beyond the point of embarrassment.

Maybe I should revert to appropriate terminology and simply refer to this little country as a “small place” … because only in a small place could so many small people be given so many large responsibilities. And worse: only in a small place could so many small people with large responsibilities permit themselves to even dream that they could get away with the sort of behaviour being displayed by public officials, politicians, and political figures in Antigua & Barbuda today.

There is a sane and solid reason behind this particular rant – a rant being a luxury seldom permitted within the confines of the thousand words or so that make up a LOW EARTH ORBIT column. The mission is to paint a word picture of the ethical bases that underlie a national issue – and that objective leaves little time or space for surrender to pure frustration.

And so, maturity being the order of the day, so to speak, Yours Truly submits that a serious look at what lies behind the whole “Electoral Boundaries” issue is in order at this time. Readers will note the stress on “what lies behind” the boundaries affair, a ruling party folly that is rapidly turning into another self-inflicted United Progressive Party political fiasco.

As if that were the whole of it … but the opposition Antigua Labour Party – or Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party – or New Labour – or True Labour – or whatever version of the name you choose to subscribe to, is in a state of total “tizzick”. No known spelling of that word exists, so Yours Truly claims copyright on this little piece of intellectual property.

But back to the main issue: The boundaries fiasco is causing as much pain for the ALP as the UPP is experiencing over the CIP Bill. It seems that Jimmy Fuller has “pulled a fast one” on what we might call the “official” wing of the ALP, meaning that faction loyal to newly-elected political leader Gaston Browne.

To appreciate the finer points of this apparent betrayal it helps to know that Jimmy Fuller is a long-time, foundation, card-carrying member of the Lester Bird auxiliary support group known as the “Unity Forum”. It also helps to remember the apparent rift that exists between the former prime minister and his one-time pet, protégé and godson Asot Michael. It helps, as well, to recall the instrumental role played by Asot Michael in leaving gallons of Lester Bird’s political blood on the November 25 convention floor.

It matters not to the Bird political family and their faithful courtiers that politics is politics everywhere; that wheeling and dealing, stroking and poking, buying and selling have always been and will always be a part of the “dirty” political game – especially as they themselves have played it in the past. The rules of the road have always stated that whoever plays the game better wins the spoils. For some hidden reason, the Bird political family and their followers seem unable to accept that simple truth.

And so it appears that Lester Bird loyalist Jimmy Fuller has turned on the Gaston Browne wing of the ALP, using his position on the Electoral Boundaries Commission to deal a blow to the despised traitor Asot Michael – and he has done so in exercise of his “independence”: meaning his freedom to operate in the interest of the Bird political family over that of the official ALP.

Jimmy Fuller’s apparent perfidy appears to have prompted ABLP/New Labour leader Gaston Browne to lash out in anger and frustration, even as Lester Bird appears to have joined Asot Michael in pursuing an injunction against presentation or debate of the EBC report. The plot congeals further when ALP political hopeful Samantha Marshall is heard defending Jimmy Fuller on the grounds that the party (which?) knew about the deadly boundary changes for some time. This position will grate on the ear of observers who have become accustomed to changing Fuller-generated leaks in recent months.

In the meantime, Lester Bird himself maintains an odd posture, part fowl and part fish, publicly pledging loyalty to the Gaston Browne ALP while silently offering aid and comfort to the True Labour faction.

For Yours Truly, the really interesting aspect of the entire affair is that prominent members of the True Labour (Bird family) faction have conceded in so many words that Lester Bird did not run a vigorous, winning campaign in advance of the November 25 convention. In other words, their own mouth confirms that in the real world of politics Lester Bird lost his leadership position because he damned well deserved to lose it.

The great leader fell from grace because he and his supporters made the error of assuming that the magic name would conquer all. The Bird family faithful ran afoul of their own misguided complacency and paid the price – and now they are red in the face … they want to take “their” bat, ball and stumps and go home: game over.

This is why True Labour is forced to hide its true motives – the return of the name “Bird” to its rightful position over the family fiefdom – behind a smokescreen of vague, unspecified “principles and traditions” of some better, purer ALP. Their movement lacks all true content, and will eventually run against the rocks of popular disinterest.
In the meantime … dem blue bex.

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4 Comments In This Article   



#4 JD » 2013-03-15 11:57

I also enjoy reading your columns, Mr Sampson. If only we had such thinking and intellect amongst our politicians too - we would instead have informed decision-makers worthy of the trust we put in them. Instead we get 'drama' every day and too many wanting their 15-minutes of fame. Too many big egos who forget who is hiring them and the reason why.


RE: Low Earth Orbit - Behind the Boundaries

#3 lenin » 2013-03-15 09:42

Hopefully one of these days I will be able to personally tell you how much I appreciate your reasoning skills and logic...accept the this as a compliment for I appreciated reading him as a child also (Im a bit grown up now), but your writings remind me of Tim Hector's. You want to read because you expect it will be analytical thinking



#2 Professor » 2013-03-15 08:13

I just want to fill in a few spaces left blank by this article.

1. What is going on between LB and AM is not politics, it is not business, it's PERSONAL. The removal of St Peter is a knockout blow to AM, because he knows that if he is not an MP he will go back to the days of being shunned by ALP MPs.

2. The ALP convention results were XXXD IN FULL, hence the perceived ILLEGITIMACY of GB's Leadership. The entire nation knows that xxis GB's bid for the leadership of the party was financed by xx, but that unholy marriage cannot last and GB is going to end up the BIGGEST LOSER.

3. Jimmy Fuller's vote is inconsequential, it cannot influence the direction of the BC on way or the other. All of the hoopla is a costly distraction for leadership shortcommings.

4. Lest we forget that Samantha Marshall is the daughter of Hugh Marshall Sr., a person closer to LB than Jimmy Fuller.

Everybody showing their TRUE COLOURS ...


Colin you are genious

#1 skyewill » 2013-03-15 06:09

Their movement lacks all true content, and will eventually run against the rocks of popular disinterest. AND PSYCHIC TOO?- :o What, you reading my mind? I hear Ms Cleo is living in Antigua. I enjoy reading you. A lot of folks may take you for granted and I know you don't care. But I must say. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!


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Mr. Colin Sampson

 Mr. Colin Sampson is a Journalist and the host of "The Colin Sampson Show" on Caribantigua TV 



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