LOW EARTH ORBIT – Barbuda Politics 101

A significant swing away from the BPM/UPP allianceYours truly woke up Saturday morning smiling, and kept on smiling for the remainder of the day. Saturday was a good day for smiles. Any day one wakes up to vindication is by definition a good day … just as any day is by definition a good day to die.

Now don’t get me wrong – my personal pleasure was not directly related to the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party coup in Friday’s mid-term Barbuda Council elections. True – that was part of it, and in fact the cause of it: but the ABLP victory gave me no personal pleasure. Nor, really, did the staggering defeat inflicted on that clueless coalition: the once-ruling Barbuda Peoples Movement and the still-ruling United Progressive Party.

No – the sense … the actuality – of personal vindication came from the knowledge of having once again been proven right in my assessment of an on-the-ground political situation. Further, my correct assessment of the actual outcome of the Friday’s balloting – a significant swing away from the BPM/UPP alliance – had been arrived at by recourse to no other sources than what information I could pick up from media outlets accessible to the average “plugged in” Antiguan and Barbudan.

There were no “insider” chats with candidates, campaign managers, and party leaders. Yours Truly declined to activate the consultant network, beat no bushes, sought no specialist input. No … I simply programmed my double-bubble telescope for full autonomous control, set my array of multiple retractable broadband antennae for maximum sensitivity, and keyed all I have ever learned about the murky world of Barbuda politics into my virtual central processing unit. The results told me that some clueless people were in for a stunning surprise.

I am aware that my comments lay me open to accusations of having suddenly acquired perfect 20-20 hindsight. In mine own defense I posit my hard-earned and dearly-paid-for reputation for straight talk and straight shooting … as well as a genuine concern not to inadvertently influence developments in what has become for Yours Truly very much a unique laboratory of real-world political science.

Think about it – how often do I go on record with hard-and-fast positions on any issue? As a matter of fact when I do “run my mouth,” as some unkindly put it, it is only after due analysis of information available to any interested person who cares to inquire – and only too often long after alert and conscientious people of responsibility have already made their respected input. For example, though I have my own opinion about the CIP issue, I have never expressed it – people living in low Earth orbit are exempt from responsible behavior.

So Yours Truly opted to remain silent on the Barbuda Council elections, purely so as not to unduly influence anyone’s thinking on the matter – and to satisfy myself that the eventual outcome would be as unbiased as possible. You see … I had something to prove – to myself if to no one else: I had to prove that what Norris Morris Harris has been saying for years about Barbuda politics is absolutely right, correct, accurate, on target and on the ball.

I also had to prove to myself that what I observed before, during and after the general elections of 1999 had some basis in reality, and that my experience of Antigua & Barbuda politics had provided me with a fairly reliable appreciation of the inscrutable workings of the national psyche. My tenured position on the faculty of the HKU (Hard Knock University) requires that I constantly explore the dark psychic landscape that hides behind the garbage-strewn Potemkin village that is Antigua & Barbuda today.

Along the way, my thoughts turned to my esteemed colleague Norris Morris Harris, whose extremely valuable contributions have been conspicuously absent from the Barbuda news feed throughout this election season. Strangely, none of the hard-working news reporters who covered the entire process seems to have had access to Norris, or to have remembered his existence. As a matter of fact the distinctive voice of Norris Morris Harris has been so missing from the airwaves recently that the horrible thought has entered my mind that poor Norris might have passed away – and as usual Yours Truly was the last to know.

On the assumption that my fears of Norris’s untimely demise are grossly exaggerated, I wish to remind Antiguans – and Barbudans, too – that Norris Morris Harris has for years been like unto a voice crying in the wilderness about the rotten core of Barbuda politics. His thesis has consistently been the incalculable undercurrents of family and personal relationships that underlie and distort the governance machinery on the sister isle.

To the valuable insights of Norris Morris Harris, I hasten to add the results of my own observation of the 1999 general elections. Just as recently in Barbuda, public meetings held by the opposition United Progressive Party were well-attended and ebullient – the scent of final victory was in the air. Antigua Labour Party efforts, on the other hand, were anemic, sparsely attended affairs: one might have been forgiven for believing that a change of government was imminent. Yet, upon the announcement of the stunning result, an ALP victory, the country went absolutely wild with euphoria – from out of nowhere the ruling party had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. The clueless UPP still don’t know what hit them.

So when, tuning in to the “Snakepit,” Yours Truly heard a character popularly known as “Goldilocks” crowing complacently about the large crowds following the ruling BPM and the certainty of a BPM victory … I smiled … and waited. My patience was rewarded when, on the day before the polling, media reports conveyed the strong impression of a clear BPM advantage: large crowds followed the BPM, anemic gatherings supported the ABLP. My array of multiple retractable broadband antennae signaled that people on the sister isle had something up their collective sleeve.

So I went to bed on Friday evening after a perfect blowout of a non-writing day without a care in the world. I even missed the evening news broadcast … an unheard-of lapse. I woke smiling at 2 am, and then wrote from 3 til 6.

Tuning in to the first news broadcast of day, I heard what I expected to hear if my theories were correct: in a shocker of an upset the ABLP had taken control of the Barbuda Council. Two strong BPM candidates had been unseated. The voters of Barbuda had meted out a harsh rebuke to the blundering BPM.

So what were all those big crowds for the BPM all about? How could the ABLP rout the BPM without being able to pull off a decently attended public meeting? The bewildered in search of enlightenment are invited to camp humbly on the doorstep of the guru Norris Morris Harris and make petition for guidance.

Maybe Yours truly can help, though. Look at it this way: suppose you want to move a party in power, but need to hedge your bets in case things don’t go quite as you might like. The Gambler says: keep your cards close to your chest … make it look as if you are die-hard PIP … until you end up alone in that polling booth for those critical five minutes … and then – make your vote count.

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3 Comments In This Article   


Colin - as usual too late will be the cry

#3 tenman » 2013-03-25 08:37

Colin, they don't like the peoples voice. There is a clear preference for hearing only singers. Reading the article today on Walker's response reminded me of the UPP's response to coming close to losing in 2009. Nothing was their fault. I am surprised Walker didn't pull the non-national card though I have heard some bloggers doing it. They are crying about an individual with big pockets influencing an election yet in nine years they have spent no time in campaign finance reform. I have to figure their reasoning was they have an edge since they control government. This is evidenced in programs like the not transparent tablet program. Its comical to see their waning supporters continue behind these foolish virgins



from the knowledge of having once again been proven right in my **sment of an on-the-ground political situation

#2 skyewill » 2013-03-25 06:54

Collin, if you were 20 years older I would swear you were my Daddy! I am thinking the exact same thing. I literally called the exact numbers and the exact same individuals for the exact same reasons...Amazing. You are 10 years older than I am, so I can't say we were separated at birth. I am still trying to figure out how you are getting into my head, or is it me getting into yours? I am at least a few thousand miles away. I don't have your phone number or your email. In fact I don't recall having a personal conversation with you...YOU AR WEIDING ME OUT! Tons of time I would sit down to write something only to find it published in LOW EARTH ORBIT. Any way you taught me to make my articles short and sweet (just like I like them) :-* , yea, that was sarcasm. 400 hundred words you said so I got 401 this time. I guess I need more practice. You keep beating me to the boards. Someone asked me for the Power ball numbers. I will send them to you so you can look into your double bubble telescope; I don't have one. ARE, so that's how you are doing it. I got to get one of those! 8)


UPP now to go!

#1 Watchful » 2013-03-25 05:33

BPM is gone, the UPP is next on the list of things to change for the sake of Antigua & Barbuda! Call the elections now!


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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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