LOW EARTH ORBIT – Confessions of a Misfit I

L- Vere Bird III, Vere Bird Jr, Lester Bird and V.C BirdThis series will touch on a set of personal issues. One might even say that some degree of personal confession will feature as we go along.

One may even reasonably expect that comments will be made, and inferences drawn, that might touch on the personal interests of others. But then these “others” reside very much in the public domain, so Yours Truly has every confidence that the affected individuals will grasp the reality that they are in play … and that when one gets into the game, personal matters become of public interest.

It may well even be fitting in a faintly macabre but nevertheless serendipitous way that Yours Truly feels moved to write on this particular topic as the time draws near for the official funeral of Vere Bird Jr.

This accident has nothing to do with any personal angst whatsoever regarding the passing of the good gentleman himself, though all deaths are regrettable and to be mourned, even while lives are celebrated. The passing of Vere Jr, though, does serve as a sort of socio-historical marker: the son following the father off the stage underlines the fading of a period. To all appearances the era of the Birds, having endured for over 70 years, is all but ended. The bearer of another name now leads the organization “Papa” Bird built, having shouldered aside the successor to the Father of the Nation. Time marches on … and a baton has been passed.

It would be best if the remainder of the discussion were pursued in terms of the role played by the Antigua Labour Party in “under-developing” the moral and psychic fiber of Antigua & Barbuda. No one can claim that the ALP years, stretching in an almost unbroken chain from 1950 to 2004, were a time of transparency, accountability and good governance. During that period, as former Prime Minister Lester Bird famously noted, VC Bird Sr exercised such hegemony over the politics of this tiny twin-island state that his singular contributions to the formation of our unfair nation stand unparalleled.

During that time, also, Antigua & Barbuda acquired a reputation for shady politics. The country became known as a haven for international crooks and indigenous corruption. That absolute power that came with complete political hegemony produced the fully expected result according to the dictum of Lord Acton: absolute corruption became the order of the day in a completely corrupted little community.

There will be many who will recoil in righteous indignation to be called out, personally characterized as corrupt. These offended citizens will passionately (and quite honestly) reject any such label. They will vigorously affirm their own personal probity, pointing instead to the patent dishonesty of others. Above all, they will try to cast the blame for the corruption of a people on the leaders of the ALP, those very same Birds who once bestrode the nation like virtual colossi of Rhodes.

This is the point at which thoughtful individuals will recall that little saying, so beloved of another deceased Antiguan & Barbudan, to the effect that the person who points a finger at someone else also points four at himself. Antiguans and Barbudans are fond of pointing an accusing finger at “the Birds” and their ALP. Some people find it expedient, both for personal and for political reasons, to cast the blame for all our nation’s misfortunes on the shoulders of those who benefited most conspicuously from the waste and corruption of the ALP years. These misguided persons seek to absolve themselves, and their own partisan grouping, from their own fair share of responsibility for the current state of the nation.

The truth is that whatever damage “the Birds” and their ALP may have done to our unfair land was by no means a solo effort – they had a great deal of willing help along the way. There is more: perhaps the most helpful aspect of the whole generational disaster was the enabling environment that greeted the AT&LU when it achieved electoral power in 1951 following the declaration of universal adult suffrage. For all the reasons provided by our people’s tortured history of oppression, colonial domination and authoritarian culture, these islands were primed and ready for a descent into corruption on a grand scale.

There can be no doubt that the unbridled corruption that defined the ALP years and has continued into the era of the United Progressive Party has deformed the national psyche, with every institution of governance and of civil society emasculated and rendered impotent. There can equally be no doubt that the primary achievement of the Father of the Nation was to fashion a people whose thought patterns and ethical standpoint are adapted to survival in the endemic corruption that now defines the nation of Antigua & Barbuda.

This is the bitter fruit fallen from the tree of misgovernment – a tree rooted in the fertile soil of hero-worship and nourished by an absence of moral and spiritual leadership; fruit that poisons our nation’s failing attempts to fashion a functional system of governance. The people of my beloved twin-island paradise long ago tasted the fruit of complete license … and the resulting addiction has produced what we have today: a country where everybody is so close to God that nobody knows right from wrong anymore.

Not knowing right from wrong is a most effective mechanism for avoiding ever having to do the right thing. The truth of that statement is demonstrated in Antigua & Barbuda every day, as noted by my trusty multiple independently targetable double-bubble telescope – now amply supplemented by a whole new redundant array of multiple retractable broadband antennae. Tensions on the Korean Peninsular have forced a generalized upgrade of all defensive systems.

The confessions of a misfit have only just begun. This is a topic so deep it requires a whole mini-series all of its own. It is also one that Yours Truly believes needs to be ventilated, even at the risk of being condemned to an internal exile even more complete than the official non-existence that defines the life of those driven souls who insist on poking a complacent establishment in the eye.

In fashioning modern Antigua & Barbuda, the Father of the Nation had the privilege of forming the mind of those who would come after him. In doing so, he ensured that the opposition that eventually replaced his government would be constrained by force of conditioning to complete and perfect the work started by his Antigua Labour Party.

Hits: 1996

3 Comments In This Article   


Wadadli Blogger

#3 Colin » 2013-04-17 17:21

Your argument is weak and self-serving, speaking of a state of denial - a very "Wadadli" attitude.
Saying "Antigua is not the only place ..." means nothing except that because it happens elsewhere makes it ok.
That is lamebrain thinking (sorry to say that).
I only want to make the few square miles where I am a better place - denial & chauvinism do not help.


Waddali Blogger

#2 tenman » 2013-04-17 15:53

Waddali Blogger, its true we are not alone. However, try and remember Bill Cooper (now no longer wanted), Dante Tagliaventi (who used our courts to avoid Canadian extradition) and Leroy King. I am sure you know there are some suggestions that King is being protected by the political directorate. There are also some sports-book operators (eg. Owners of WSEX, the former Sports Off Shore, the former owners of WWTS) that the US is interested in getting for engaging at what they deem illegal and we deem legal since we licensed them.




#1 Waddali Blogger » 2013-04-17 15:03

@Collin ... can you explain and show how and when "The country became known as a haven for international **s and indigenous corruption."

That is a statement that could be said about any country in the world ... name one country that doesn't have **s and corruption ... does that mean that the country acted as a haven or did they just get to opperate under the radar ... why are you saying we were a haven? I am using the Webster's definition of haven here ... Who were we offering favorable opportunities or conditions to that made us "KNOWN AS A HAVEN" for international **s? And if so were we doing it knowingly and for gain? And I don't wanna hear Stanford name because he fooled everybody and it therfore could be said he had havens everywhere ... USA, UK, Latin America etc... My point is if we had 3 or so bad seeds that does not make us a haven ...if their was much more please make me aware!!!

Waddali Blogger

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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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