WRONG_WOEID WRONG_WOEID

Seeing the Light

Seeing the LightThe transformation was as amazing to the ear as the demeanor was to the eye. An ebullient Hilson Baptiste, looking as slim and as trim as he has ever been in his entire life, was back to being his famous “Brother B” self.

His charisma sparkled into the camera; his eye shone with sincerity; his voice rang with conviction. The Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries & Environment projected his warmth across the conference table and beyond, beaming into the homes of voters across the land.

It was a vintage performance, and an effective one – more so perhaps for the true believer than for the skeptic, but welcome nevertheless. The message Baptiste brought to the people was one of hope and promise, a dream of national salvation. With a show of passion worthy of an inspired televangelist the Minister of Agriculture & Lands revealed himself in his persona as defender of the people.



As noted before it was a remarkable transformation. Not the “defender of the people” part, but rather the interpretation that minister Baptiste was now choosing to apply to the concept of defending the people.

Not so very long before, that very same Minister of Agriculture & Lands had appeared to be very much committed to a quite opposite definition of “defending the people”. According to the ideology formerly espoused by the now reformed minister, his great mission to empower the poor people of Antigua & Barbuda would have required the complete closure of the indigenous poultry production sector.

For any person who has been educated to any level acceptable in today’s world, the entire concept should have been deemed anathema at first sight. And indeed it was – but not by the ambitious political hacks who apparently sold the idea to a starry-eyed politician bent on constructing a heroic image to dazzle the “poor people”.

The people who instantly saw through the transparent power-grab, many of them quite poor, were more or less anybody with a basic understanding of international trade, development economics, sociology, political science or human resource development – whether acquired at grassroots level through trial-and-error and bitter experience, or learned in a classroom somewhere between secondary school and college.

The proposal to wipe out an entire class of local entrepreneur sparked disgust in the mind of people who struggle daily to eke out a living from their own business activities, small or large. The idea horrified workers who, trapped in low-level or frustrating dead-end jobs, nevertheless dream of “breaking out” of wage slavery and being their own boss. The concept disgusted citizens who envision the establishment of a viable if small society in our islands, for the betterment of us all.

For a while, at least, the proposal seemed to please Hilson Baptiste quite well. That has long been the clear message communicated by the agriculture minister, in his best bluff, gruff, folksy style. For those who have followed the whole ridiculous affair from its first appearance on the scene as “Zacky-Mann Poultry Farms”, it is undeniable that the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries & Environment has swung its weight firmly behind the dazzlingly huge mega-project from the very beginning.

Food security is a critical issue for Small Island Developing States like ours, as is the imperative to reduce our food import bill. Seventy million dollars is not a figure to sneeze at, and that sum represents the amount of money Antiguans and Barbudans send out of the country annually to satisfy our hunger for white meat … poultry, that is: KFC … Chinese … jerk … barbecue … roti. So as a matter of fact Hilson Baptiste does have a valid point when he lusts to reduce and eventually eliminate that massive flow of scarce foreign exchange flushing through the nation’s alimentary canal.

As usual in our unfair land, the issue is not really about what we actually want to do … it’s more about how we choose to go about doing it. And for a while there it really seemed as if our agriculture minister was eager to take a bunch of independent local entrepreneurs who had painstakingly over the years built up their lives by dint of hard work, and pressure them to sell out their holdings to a foreign investor; thereafter becoming employees in a foreign-owned enterprise that would control our supply of … white meat.

The sheer idiocy of the whole ludicrous land-grabbing boondoggle is breathtaking in its tunnel vision. That is why the agriculture minister’s abrupt change of heart is so amazing. Few politicians could have executed a quick public relations back-flip with the grace and style exhibited by Brother B, as he sparred congenially with the media panel, in fact reaching beyond them to an angry electorate who were letting him know how unimpressed they were with his misguided heroics.



Certainly Brother B has seen the light and has got religion. Hopefully he has been saved from becoming known to history as the politician who came to power with a mandate to strengthen the indigenous entrepreneurial sector, and ended up dealing a death blow to a major part of it.

The episode serves to illustrate the dangers of bad advice given to naïve politicians by eager place-seekers who rush in with an eye to securing their own seat on the gravy train. These ambitious carpetbaggers, their gaze firmly fixed on the bright horizon just beyond the end of the rainbow, tend to miss the muck and filth right under their feet; and in doing so they lead their trusting meal ticket into gross error.

It is instructive to note that the Minister of Agriculture is now cagily backing away from the Ciboney Poultry Farms proposal, citing concerns over the ability of principals Gregg Zacky and Ron Mann to secure the capital required to carry through the US$75 million project. Baptiste is also casting doubt on the earlier “due diligence” supposedly performed by the Antigua & Barbuda Investment Authority, and is now (at last) doing some due diligence of his own.

The agriculture minister would perhaps be well advised to perform some due diligence of his own on the kind of “advisor” who would promote the entry into Antigua & Barbuda of “investors” who would openly insult the people of this nation by valuing the sweat, blood, tears, hopes, aspirations and dreams of our struggling poultry producers at a paltry one million dollars US.

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23 Comments In This Article   

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They smoking

#23 skyewill » 2013-03-18 01:07

The smoke can not last forever. it is blowing in the wind and when it blows away...FIRE And all those who surround him trying to protect him, they are just as guilty and must suffer the penalty, we can't let them walk away...God forgive...but heads must roll........WADADLI POWER PLANT!!!!!
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skyewill

Last word to Microwave chef

#22 E.P. Chet Greene » 2013-03-17 17:23

Chef, I have no interest in serving the ABFA at this time. My focus at this point is on winning my seat in the upcoming general Elections and providing leadership and representation to the people of St. Paul. While i have very strong views on the national sports development thrust, you would appreciate that the matter at hand and fixing it is the responsibility of the ABFA, its member clubs and principals.
where accounting for funds received for phase one of the referenced project is concerned, please note that I was never at any material time responsible for nor involved in the receipt and/or disbursement of the funds. I was not even a signatory to the accounts of the association. Check that out too.
Sorry for perhaps not satisfying your expected style, but I do know when substance matters.
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E.P. Chet Greene

RE: Seeing the Light

#21 Microwave chef » 2013-03-17 15:00

Mr Greene don't get chef wrong you have been informative and have left chef with some reading and research to do on this matter of the big yellow wall.
And Chef trusts that if needed in time you can provide the evidence for what you have revealed today as far as funds in this matter goes.
thanks again for your time and reply
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Microwave chef

For the benefit of Mr Greene and others

#20 Microwave chef » 2013-03-17 14:55

It loosely translates to : rising to the stars on the wings of a pig( reference to lipstick on a pig) yet "who benefits:? that would be you ,who has a great opportunity to get your message out on unresolved matters that still live in Antigua and Barbuda. you however smartly forgot to tell us your plan to change all that you have just pointed is wrong by pointing at others. Or are you not running for office on the ticket of change and renewal?
Honestly sir your reply so far thou very polite and smart , lacks the gravitas chef and others would expect from a man seeking the position you clearly aspire.
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Microwave chef

RE: Seeing the Light

#19 E.P. Chet Greene » 2013-03-17 13:08

Chef, I have been credited, albeit wrongly with proficiency in languages I do not speak. For my benefit and that of those readers who do not possess your linguistic abilities, please translate that portion of foreign language, please.
One final piece of information which I forgot to include in my earlier posts is that when the Ralph Potter administration left office in 2004, we left in excess of USD 140,000.00 in that project account and ply the erection of the already purchased lights and g**ing we're outstanding in that phase of the project.
Luther Lee and George Purcell can provide corroborative information
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E.P. Chet Greene

Microwave Chef -tainted data

#18 tenman » 2013-03-17 12:22

Microwave Chef, I kinda expected the response Greene gave. Over the years in our talk as you like environment, persons have brought opinions with no real facts. Perhaps like you, I got most of my information on this issue from shows like the snake pit (never used to miss it). Some years ago, I realized what is touted as fact there at best is questionable. Its wrong when only one side gets to present their "truth". You then later learn that the person facilitating the distribution in these seen only by him facts, is a mercenary. A good example of this was the SS debate where according to him he was able to get the facts from the chairman of SS. MC, how would you define a investigation if they proceeded to depend mostly on information from someone being investigated with no corroboration?
..
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tenman

a good start

#17 Microwave chef » 2013-03-17 12:19

Mr Greene Thank you for your reply so far.
as for our exchange consider this " ad astra per alas porci" yet cui bono? ;-)
enjoy your Sunday
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Microwave chef

And finally.........

#16 E.P. Chet Greene » 2013-03-17 12:05

Chef, I hope I answered your questions even though not to your satisfaction entirely, at least I did so honestly and provided a basis for you to investigate the veracity.
As a public official, I remain available to any member of the general public for blog, telephone, personal or other forms of communication. I am not perfect but also know the difference between misinterpretations and deliberate acts of slander, personal attacks and character assassinations.
As the saying goes, I guess as a politician I am fair (and easy) game. I take as good as I give. How about that? Have a good day
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E.P. Chet Greene

Direct responses to Microwave Chef

#15 E.P. Chet Greene » 2013-03-17 11:56

Chef, while I cannot provide official answers about future uses of the facility, I can, as someone who participated in he original concept discussions, say that the advent of commercial centers in the area have rendered the project unrealistic and unachievable. The concept was for a development center which would eventually be fleshed into a dedicated football stadium owned by the ABFA and funded, for the most part, by FIFA. Government gave the lands.
There is now no space for parking and a development concept which envisioned spots and recreational facilities from the Police Recreation Grounds all the way up is now dead.
While I take no blame (responsibility), I do feel badly that such a concept was killed by narrow minded, cloud coded politics and character assassinations.
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E.P. Chet Greene

Direct responses to Microwave Chef

#14 E.P. Chet Greene » 2013-03-17 11:49

Chef, I forgot to inform in my last post that I had nothing to do with the painting of the wall. That would have been done from the drawdown of USD 603,098.00 under the presidency of Mervyn Richards and which was received in November 2005. Maybe he should be asked to account like I just did for work which took place under the Ralph Potter administration in which I served as General Secretary.
As to what are the plans for the area, that too is a question which I cannot answer since I do not hold office in the ABFA. Such a question should be posed to Everton Gonsalves whose administration received an amount of USD 400,000.00 in 2010. You could also ask him to account for the generator which mysteriously went missing from the property without as much as a notice to the general public to assist in its recovery.
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E.P. Chet Greene

@Chef

#13 James Spencer » 2013-03-17 11:40

Tell me again why you have to hide your identity?
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James Spencer

Direct responses to Microwave Chef

#12 E.P. Chet Greene » 2013-03-17 11:34

Chef, a pity I am asked to use this thread to reply to your personal attack now inverted to hat might be considered fair questions. However, and I'm sure readers will permit and forgive.
I refer you to the following website, www.fifa.com and a further search engine of "GOAL project in Antigua" where you will see the history of the project you refer to. I was General Secretary of the AFA during phase one of the said project. Without attempting to bias yours or any other readers opinion, I posit for your further research the following work done under this phase;
Land preparation to include grading, installation of pop up irrigation system by George Purcell, construction of generator house and purchase of generator, purchase and shipping of light towers and lights from Musco Lighting, fencing to include material and labour cost (entire perimeter). Satisfy yourself about the scope of work mentioned above and the FIFA disbursement. I am comfortable that my tenure in the AFA and involvement in that project have and can withstand any and all scrutiny
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E.P. Chet Greene

why the big yellow wall?

#11 Microwave Chef » 2013-03-17 11:13

Let me get to the point Mr Greene, Our country is in a big mess, we need people who can fix it and fast. What chef wants to desperately avoid is jumping from the frying pan into the fire( professional hazard as a chef).
My beloved country does not need an other builder of yet an other big yellow wall with lights.
We have seen 9 years of that from the UPP ( yes Chet UPP :oops: ). so Please explain, so we my know you are the right guy for the job ;-) or just a yellow wall builder. :-|
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Microwave Chef

works like this

#10 Microwave Chef » 2013-03-17 10:55

Mr Greene, please tell us, what was the plan for the big yellow wall on sir G Walters highway? Walls and lights, but no football.
Before you point at the current AFA please tell us ? what was the plan because you sir where in charge when that big yellow wall went up.

Please include how the $1.000.000 grant from F.I.F.A for the development was spend , to the best of your knowledge. Please understand Chef is not suggesting anything, but would really like the know that happened because look at the state of football in Antigua today , the controversy in the A.F.A. How sir do you feel about this and how do we fix it? What went wrong???
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Microwave Chef

in reply to E. P. Chet Greene

#9 Microwave Chef » 2013-03-17 10:40

Chef is please by your personal and swift reply. Chef knows he is not the only one who has questions for you , so we may learn and understand you better. Really get to know you, and Chef hopes that your reply to these questions will be just as swift and heartfelt honest. As for my name,thanks but no thanks,not yet. Chef is not a politician or running for political office and as such enjoys the privilege of anonymity ( the same anonymity you politicians give us for 4 1/2 years or until election time).

As for the rest: in the words of the great Caribbean poet BOB" who the cap fit let them wear it"
As a chef I can simply not resit pointing out something about pot and kettle an black ;-)
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Microwave Chef

RE: Seeing the Light

#8 E.P. Chet Greene » 2013-03-17 09:59

Chef, unlike you I do not need a moniker to disguise or hide my identity. Neither am I fazed by your insinuations. My comments on this and any other matter of national importance are reasoned, researched and thoroughly presented.
Unmask yourself, drop the moniker and allow contributors to know who you are and maybe, just maybe we will all get a good laugh and better understanding of your analogy of the pig and lipstick. No need to be rude.
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E.P. Chet Greene

@ E P Chet "amnesia" Green

#7 Microwave Chef » 2013-03-17 09:34

Chef is not blind 8) does not play football and doesn't care about the Olympics.
Chef likes honesty an integrity of character , an does not suffer from amnesia like to may of us. So why are you still talking????
your Make over is as funny as the one we see in Brother B, and just as credible.
lipstick on a pig does not change the nature of a pig. so please go and "oink oink " some where else.
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Microwave Chef

Misplaced Mirth Smacks of Naivety

#6 Professor » 2013-03-17 09:31

Quote:
Certainly Brother B has seen the light and has got religion.
Are you nuts ... what you seen and heard were the words of a politician at a political convention. Neither LIGHT nor RELIGION has shared company with this parasite for quite some time, political rhetoric notwithstanding.
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Professor

Colin

#5 tenman » 2013-03-17 09:27

UPP 2004 Manifesto:
Quote:
The UPP’s Business Development Programme will promote Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to become a major generator of jobs and a significant contributor to the economy. page 9
Damning is:
Quote:
Antigua and Barbuda provides one of the most lucrative markets for poultry per head worldwide. A considerable portion of our food import bill goes to importing poultry products, mainly from Florida, USA. Latest figures indicate that the annual value of imported poultry products is EC$20 million (Now 70 million under the UPP according to their figures). Much of these imports can be replaced by local poultry, when our own poultry farmers are enabled by policies that provide meaningful incentives and opportunities in investment in poultry production. page 12
Colin, there are real lessons here that we always ignore with similar situations. You have a government going contrary to its manifesto promises. You still have too many supporters not holding them accountable. This UPP ship lost its mooring a long time ago

..
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tenman

Things fall apart, the center cannot hold

#4 E.P. Chet Greene » 2013-03-17 09:09

There is bound to be a colossal fall out between the principals of this failed poultry project and the government led by the doomed Investment Authority and "late vision"minister Baptiste.
Just last week the minister was standing behind the project and promoted both the concept and investors as legitimate and worthy. One week later he is distancing himself and questioning their ability to finance the project among other concerns. His assertions on their capacity to deliver serve to render the Investment Authority redundant and ineffective; a position long advocated by the people and confirmed by their track record.
What we are yet to hear is the reaction from the investors about their legitimate expectations emanating from the signed MOU. Could this be another scandal in the making? Time will tell!!!
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E.P. Chet Greene

@ just me

#3 Microwave Chef » 2013-03-17 09:05

"Just me "chef couldn't have made a more concise point. :lol: :lol:
Putting lipstick on a pig doesn't change the fact that it is still a pig, it just looks funny that's all.
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Microwave Chef

Chicken s#*t

#2 Just me » 2013-03-17 08:56

The same stuff comes out of the chicken, and I'm not talking eggs here!
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Just me

EMPOWERMENT OF THE FARMERS

#1 RAWLSTON POMPEY » 2013-03-17 07:25

The Honourable Minister may have seen much more than " ...LIGHT."

There may have been more than sufficient wisdom to " ...See and Know" that " ...Indigenous Chicken Farmers" were being lured to the edge of destruction, under the guise of providing for " ...Foreign Direct Investment," as opposed to encouraging Local Farmers who had built the industry.

Such encouragement with **ance as necessary, may have been undoubtedly seen as " ...EMPOWERMENT OF THE FARMERS."
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RAWLSTON POMPEY

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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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