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Things Fall Apart - Can the Gov’t Survive Waldadli

Things Fall ApartSince sweeping power as a populist government in 2004, the UPP has struggled mainly because it’s defter at campaigning than governing; but also due to its anachronistic model of "great man" leadership. Even after a narrow return to power in 2009, the thoughtful remain unconvinced this government can ably position A&B’s economy.

To many, it’s a bereft tax and spend regime. Also, from very early, the UPP has been dodging various bullets of corrupt allegations; but then the rains came... in the form of Wadadli Power Plant!

As things fall apart in the blue tabernacle, the prayer of the faithful is at once an anxious ponder: Can the prime minister and his executive survive ‘Wadadli’?

 

Something tells me this deal and ordeal may well be the government’s Humpty Dumpty moment! The premonition is driven by striking similarities this drama shares with noticeable features that attended the precipitous endgames of the Golding, Manning and Panday governments.

1.  It’s Big & Egregious Enough: Even if new, cost of the plant is at serious odds with its total power wattage capacity. If old and used, malfeasance is tenfold. We are not talking chum change. Close to EC150 million in any economy, especially a small one, is big money. Further, when heavy direct taxing of ordinary citizens funds the treasury, potential misfeasance is likely to be seen as "picking" front pockets instead of back pockets; and therefore is evil magnified.

2.  It Involves the Prime Minister’s Office. No one has said the prime minister’s hand is in the cookie jar - yet. Still, as minister directly responsible, the cookie jar seems firmly positioned in his lap. What if, despite the prime minister’s assurance to Cabinet and country, the plant is an old used outfit? What then if the prime minister’s word is at odds with the eventual truth?

Surely governmental paralysis! Though the odd minister goes down the road of perdition, no Caribbean government can survive if the prime minister is directly implicated; and his word turns out false on a major matter of accountability. Caribbean people do not tolerate whiffs of turpitude emanating from that office. They tend to see national pride, respectability, and integrity lodged in the image and office of the prime minister; and rightly so. Just ask Basdeo Panday, Patrick Manning, or Brue Golding.

3.  There’s a "Holy Rogue": No Caribbean prime minister has ever survived a worthy direct public accountability call out by a very senior cabinet colleague. In every verity, Wilmoth Daniel’s ask for a public inquiry into Wadadli is really a request that is an accusation. My guess is, like Rowley in Trinidad, Daniel knows he’s sitting on a "royal flush" (pun intended). Colin Sampson’s absorbing piece Daniel in the Lion’s Den rightly captures various aspects of the intrigue. But while Daniel may well be in the lion’s den, I won’t be surprised if the prime minister and his inner circle aren’t in fact lions trapped in Daniel’s den!

4.  There is Quagmire: The prime minister is in an awkward and perhaps compromised position. He must urgently do two things: 1) prove his word to be true that the plant is brand new (which of course he won’t be able to if it’s not); and 2) justify the vast expenditure of US53 Million (and counting) for a 30 mega watts capacity plant (which is extremely difficult given APC fairly recently installed a brand new 51 mega watts capacity plant for US49 million).

From this point on, unless he first does these two seemingly impossible things, any other move he makes is bound to be a mistake. Isn’t that the definition of quagmire? Once trapped, every effort made to extricate oneself only aids faster sinking. 

 

5.  There is Corky Rationalizing: The venture safeguards nationalism! Where have we heard that before? Genuine nationalizing won’t need shrouded concealment. Denying basic information to citizens is disempowering; and antithetical to nationalism. On anomalies like this C.S. Lewis says: “those who hurt us for our own good do so without end, for they do it with the approval of their own conscience”! Nationalistic passions have always been useful for hiding agendas.

The secret, Selwyn Ryan suggests, is to learn to read politicians crooked in order to understand them straight! How does one interpret this very costly argument for national ownership while acknowledging said government past up on free transfer of 1st APC plant (Black Pine: 27 mega watts) to APUA as provided for by initial BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer) contract?  

6.  There is Myopia & Hubris: Myopia manifests itself through decided silence/concealment; and attempts to pass issue off as a quasi governmental APUA problem. Hubris is evidenced in insensitive effrontery to peoples’ concerns. The finance minister, of all persons, said cabinet and party executive saw no merit in an inquiry. Such claim serves no useful purpose, except to certify UPP’s dysfunctional inability to self correct.

To assert a glaring questionable situation does not require thorough official review indicates myopia and hubris to the hilt. It also unmasks a weak, spineless cabinet; and an equally impotent, if not irrelevant central executive. Both entities clearly lack the insight to sense danger, the resolve to do what is morally right; and the cojones to speak truth to power.

Each new revelation and the Prime Minister’s eerie silence make a silly but oft expression very apt: “things are only getting ‘curiouser’ and ‘curiouser’!” Still, if the above delineated parallelism with fallen governments is accurate, we may witness governmental meltdown in A&B. The UPP gov’t is tottering on the brink with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana skin! Will it fall suddenly or become a ‘living dead’?

Either way, holding on to power will be difficult. Just like the governments of Panday, Manning and Golding riding this fiasco out appears little more than a whispering hope.

Not unlike fallen references, the government in St John’s is at once both culprit and victim of a peculiar irony that exists between politics and government within Caribbean society. We tend not to see the root cause of the problem and as a result lessons are hard to learn.

To be exact, Caribbean governments run into a trap and fall (as this one likely will) primarily because our preference for ‘great man’ leadership is at sharp variance with ideals and values of Westminster government regarding prime-minister-ship.

In Westminster, for all intents and purposes, the prime minister is the government; but, the person holding the office is not! That is to say (here we must get a little nuanced), Baldwin Spencer is prime minister; but the prime minister is not Baldwin Spencer. The prime minister is an institution bigger than the individual who holds the position. Westminster model anticipates the person must rightly demit EARLY ENOUGH; that is, resign (‘jump’) or be pushed, rather than tarnish the institution of Prime Minister. The person is servant to the institution.

Great man leadership emotions make no distinction between person and office - at least not before it's way too late. The holder is esteemed equivalent to the office, if not bigger. The institution is servant to the ego. The person is expected to hold onto office and face down detractors at all costs.



Even use the office as a line of defense under the guise that “the Prime Minister has spoken”. By the time it’s all done, the person has so tarnished the office that even a resignation cannot redeem the government. A new cycle must begin.

Once very serious questions gather only EARLY separation between person and institution can help the party in power save the government. The problem, however, is that a prime minster that is potentially a culprit of malfeasance or misfeasance is often at the same time a victim of the great leader syndrome we have wrapped him/her in. No wonder it is difficult, even unseemly to resign early and do right by the institution he/she represents!

From this discussion, it is easy to see how the psychology of our politics is in dire conflict with the values and ideals of our governance structure. To-date no besieged Caribbean prime minister has shown alertness to the challenge of an early enough "jump". (Even Bruce Golding got the timing wrong.) The ambiguity between admiration and responsibility seemed to have confused them all - and their parties paid the ultimate price.

Will Caribbean politics witness another requiem mass? Alas, we await the outcome in St John’s!

Raymond S Edwards, PhD Organizational Psychologist & Minister of Religion - is an International Development Consultant and Executive Leadership Specialist. © 04/19/12. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Author’s note:

This is the first in a three-part essay series. 

Part I: Things Fall Apart: Can the Gov’t Survive?;
Part II: Things Go Awry in the House of Red;
Part III: On Crisis & Cure: It’s Your Time A&B!)

See related stories:

 

Daniel’s Letter – The Fallout

ALP Transparent-See

Lone Wolf Group Accuses Spencer

Confident of No-Confidence

UPP’s Accountability and Transparency

Derrick Doubts Caribarena Photos

Lovell Roasted on Talk Show

Taking the Mickey Out of Spencer

Joseph Attacks Govt 'Dictatorship'

Cabinet Rejects Call for Inquiry

With Eyes Pressed Shut

More Support for MP Daniel

Bird Demands Answers About Power Plant Deal

No Voice Derrick - Serpent Charmed

MP Supports Daniel's Call

Daniel in the Lions Den

Daniel Demands Investigation into Chinese Power Plant

Shame and Outrage over Edwards' Commentary

Wrong Made Right

Money Talks - Power Plant Walks

Anti-Power Plant Pickets held in St John's

MP Joseph Exposes Critical APUA Reports

PM Blasts Molwyn Over Power Plant

Power Plant Issue Goes To Parliament

An Inside Look at APC

Power Plant Companies Relationship Explained

Govt Promises Chinese Power Plant Answers

Another Unsettling Discovery at Power Plant

Bird To Seek Outside Advice on Power Plant

MP Joseph Accuses Government of Breaking Laws

Antigua Power Plant - No Straight Answers

Chinese Power Plant or Antigua's White Elephant‬

Power Plant Production Costs Explained

PM Says ALP Distorted Power Plant Info

No Plan Behind the Power Plant

Yearwood Presents Figures on Chinese Power Plant

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29 Comments In This Article   

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UPP will survive

#29 Daughter of Klaas » 2012-07-12 20:12

Much to the detriment of Antigua and the children of Klaas, the country may as well adjust to the fact that we are doomed to face several more years of unaxxlxexaxted B***S***(Baldwin Spencer). The current opposition currently reeks of B***S*** and seems to have made special deals with the devil for their own survival. Madness, arrogance, ignorance and greed are the order of the day for politicians on both sides. How sad! So, buckle up sons and daughters of Klaas, brace yourselves for plenty more B***S*** to come.
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@ Dread & Tenman - Too Many Vacuous Comparisons!

#28 John French II » 2012-04-29 23:11

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock. Dread, thanks for rescuing "power plant cost". That the Report as an Environmental Impact **sment (EIA) has valid merit in its discipline is to be appreciated but not from an engineering comparison of powerplant operating characteristics, efficiencies and costs. Yet it is a valuable service & learning opportunity for concerned residents. A copy should be sent to all A&B politicians - Transparency, Accountability, Environmental Protection. Why have the People of Antigua & Barbuda not seen an EIA of the WPP?
Tenman, as you have stated the comparisons are all over the globe and the central issues are being lost in the dissonance and personal vitriol. Most power plants and or cogeneration plants designed and built to run on natural gas have as their redundancy/contingen cy solutions HFO. HFO have deisel as the contingency. Most operations also have built into the natural gas delivery contracts, interruptible gas clauses where HFO or deisel kick in. Value For Money? Touche! The Politicians' Language for obfuscation. Simple: Finance, WPP Specifications, Substation, Transformers, Transmission, Operations. APUA Engineers Please?
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Morris

#27 tenman » 2012-04-29 22:35

Morris unfortunately I suspect Sly's fear of the ALP will cause him(probably her) to accept anything done by the Spencer government. Curiously missing from the list is what has become known of the "fencing scandal". In addition the wastage of moneys by public works is also forgotten. These transactions all have much in common: Though required by law, they never went to tender. However in the eyes of some, the law is only broken when broken by the ALP. After all, in their mind's the UPP always has good intentions. Ignored in all of this is the amount of wealth these political newcomers have been able to accumulate in such a short time. But why worry, as the current Minister of public works (when asked why but new top of the line vehicles for visiting dignitaries) and the past one has stated, "we like nice things". Its only the public who needs to engage in belt tightening

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@ SlyThatGuy

#26 Morris » 2012-04-29 22:02

How much benefit of doubt do you give to someone (entity) that deliberately fail to follow procedures? Should a judge keep telling a criminal that he will give him/her the benefit of the doubt, then release him back into society to continue to wreak havoc? That seems to be the message from your posts. The citizens have caught the gov't in a compromising position and they have called them out. What is so wrong with that? That is what a democracy is all about. The gov't have not been forthcoming on numerous occasions so they citizens have taken their stand. Whatever happened to terms like duty, leadership, discipline, ethics, responsibility, transparency, honesty, and integrity, are they just catch words or fillers? There is absolutely no doubt in my mind (and perhaps other posters) that if these words were guiding principles of governance in ANU that we would not be in the predicament we find ourselves.
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RE: Things Fall Apart - Can the Gov't Survive Waldadli

#25 SlyThatGuy » 2012-04-29 21:02

The lingering effects of the global economic meltdown,the adverse effects of Stanford's ponzi scheme,the use of poor quality China-made machinery by China Government for the overpriced Wadadli Power Plant - things that really hurt the Spencer's regime.But if the people can understand that prime minister Spencer is not entirely at fault for the shape the country is in,then the government can survive Waldadli.Why can't we just wait for the matter to go to parliament?!
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comparing apples with apples

#24 tenman » 2012-04-29 20:41

We should ensure we compare apples with apples. The engines were made in China so we should focus on the cost of similarly manufactured plants. Here is what China power Contractor says about the, 800K USD /MW, cost for the plants it provides:

Quote:
How do the recommended engines compare with competing engines from Wartsila, MAN etc? Answer: We have built over 100 power plants in Africa and dispatch 80 engineers to Africa for service. Attached, usually our quality is assured, and if the O&M and spare parts are supplied by us, then we can make your operation costs much more economical. Wartsila and MAN have a very long delivery times, saying 20 to 24 months, price is at least 50% higher than ours (we can also provide 5mw, 7.6mw MAN made in China, price is about 800USD/KW (800K USD /MW). www.china-power-contractor.cn/Answers-to-25mw-HFO-power-plant.html
Financing?
Quote:
Terms can be 5-30 years, and interest rate from 2% to 6% depending on negotiation www.china-power-contractor.cn/index.html
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@Dread

#23 tenman » 2012-04-29 20:31

Dread thanks. The plant is actually a 240 MW power plant which use either HFO or Natural Gas. The cost is expected to range between 200 to 325 million USD (400M to 650 Milllion BDS). I would think that natural gas being cheaper than HFO that a plant utilizing this fuel type or both HFO & Natural Gas would be more expensive. The document itself states the cost would be based on the option chosen

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@Anu Student Abroad

#22 Another View » 2012-04-29 19:57

Don't think the PM should wait for his word to turn out false. If he knows he lied about the engines being new he should do the right thing and "jump". Perhaps he can still save the gov't.
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Another View

Power Plant Cost

#21 Dread » 2012-04-29 19:31

The blogger who posted the article from the Jamaican Observer about the Power Plant is Barbados cannot be blamed fully for the incorrect story since he copied it from the newspaper, however he should have done a bit more research before he commented. Below is a link of the feasibility study and full specks of the Power Plant in Barbados. http://www.blpc.com.bb/Photos/projectDescription.pdf
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Dread

Fully Agree

#20 Anu Student Abroad » 2012-04-29 19:23

Dr Edwards, my girlfriends and i just read and discussed your column. Great job; stuff like this can help us shape a better Caribbean. We all fully agree that if the prime minister's word turns out to be false re the engines he should definitely leave office- no discussion, no debate. Keep doing what you do. You're blessed with special grey matter; and your writing style is just deliciuos.
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Anu Student Abroad

RE: Things Fall Apart - Can the Gov’t Survive Waldadli

#19 Morris » 2012-04-29 19:01

Great article! However, I will like to advise the PM that it is a terrible thing for a leader to look over his shoulder and realize that there is no one behind him. For the most part the m** don't care that you know, they want to know that you care. Caring involves listening to (not hearing) the concerns of the citizens, being accountable, and not giving them sixes for nines.
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@ jeb

#18 SlyThatGuy » 2012-04-29 16:20

No Jeb,I am not saying that as long as they have food the people of Antigua & Barbuda are "too stupid and self-concerned to care"about how their prime minister behaves in office.What I'm saying is that if the state of affairs were economically better and the people were happier,they'd be a bit more considerate -they wouldn't be so eager to get rid of Spencer. Getting rid of Spencer to replace him with Bird,a man under whom the nation suffered much,much disappointment is unwise.
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SlyThatGuy

RE: Things Fall Apart - Can the Gov’t Survive Waldadli

#17 power plant cost » 2012-04-29 16:04

memorandum of understanding 2006
contract 2008
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power plant cost

power plant cost.

#16 John.S .Brown » 2012-04-29 14:55

According to PM BS and his Sidekick David they entered into a powerplant purchase agreement with the Chinese in 2006!!!!
Now the international rate for first world powerplants is around 1 m per mwh . If a Company buys a completed station with the capacity to run on a nautral fuel plus hfo and that plant is to be located in a remote area with difficult terrain, they can be a price differance..Remember East Timor and our own IHI,inflated cost and commissions will carry up the price !!!
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John.S .Brown

RE: Things Fall Apart - Can the Gov’t Survive Waldadli

#15 power plant cost » 2012-04-29 14:20

Power Capital Cost contracts entered into in 2008 were the highest ever. As a matter of fact in power capital cost was higher in 2008 than it is today according to research published by IHS.

See Graph. Note the steep rise fron late 2005 to 2008

http://www.ihs.com/images/PCCI-lg-dec11.jpg
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power plant cost

RE: Things Fall Apart - Can the Gov’t Survive Waldadli

#14 power plant cost » 2012-04-29 14:12

17.2 mw at lowmans bay for US$37 million. Looks like over 2 million per MW.

Read More
http://searchlight.vc/us-millions-lowmans-bay-power-plant-p7760.htm
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Were nor Are

#13 annoyed » 2012-04-29 14:04

MAN never said the engins ARE new, they said the engins WERE new with no indocation of time, which is very suspicious and raises even more doubds about this deal.
www.Caribarena.com/antigua/news/latest/99470-man-says-engines-were-new.html?template=mobile
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annoyed

RE: Things Fall Apart - Can the Gov’t Survive Waldadli

#12 power plant cost » 2012-04-29 13:56

"BARBADOS Light and Power Company has contracted a London-based consultancy firm to supervise the construction of a new 60 megawatt power station in Barbados, officials said Thursday.

Mott MacDonald - whose management, engineering and development consultants work in 100 countries - will also manage the international procurement process to select a construction firm, said lead project engineer Donal McRandal.

The US$100 million (euro83.6 million) plant will be built in the northcoast town of St Lucy. Construction will begin in late 2006. The plant should be operational by October 2008, said Andrew Gitters, managing director of the privately owned utility."

taken from:
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/95351_London-based-firm-to-design-new-Barbados-power-plant



Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/95351_London-based-firm-to-design-new-Barbados-power-plant#ixzz1tS9U5fiM
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power plant cost

@SlyThatGuy

#11 jeb » 2012-04-29 13:48

So the way you see it is that so long as the economy is producing then “we the people” are too stupid and self-concerned to care whether civil servants steal millions of dollars, spend multi millions on a multitude of crap that we have to pay for, and drown the island with Chinese immigrants. So long as we can eat then we don’t care if our prime minister is a failure, locally and internationally. If that were to be the case with regard to the people there would be no hope at all for a future…I, for one believe that most of the population are aware and hate the corruption that has taken (and still is taking) place over the last 8yrs. The suffering just makes people want to put an end to this disaster sooner rather than later. The ALP appear to have seen over this time that incompetence and corruption are not acceptable and will never achieve long term success. I don't think Antigua can take anymore "trail and error" governance.
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jeb

Wonderful words

#10 InteresteD » 2012-04-29 13:39

dr. Edwards prose is great reading. However what strikes me is the completenfailure to mention the fact, yes the fact, that Mann said the engines are new! The APUA technicians said the engines are new! The Chinese government said the engines are new! EXIM bank said the engines are new! Small facts to omit eh!so while the reading is good it's based on a 'what if' that has been refuted by all the relevant parties not only the PM..Dr Edwards can you write a piece using those facts or are all of them lying too?
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InteresteD

RE: Things Fall Apart - Can the Gov’t Survive Waldadli

#9 power plant cost » 2012-04-29 13:03

"Conduit Capital to construct 66MW power plant in Jamaica
The $127m power plant, which will initially run on oil but can also be fitted to run on natural gas, is a greenfield project'"

This looks like US1.9 million per MW.

Read more at
http://fossilfuel.energy-business-review.com/news/conduit-capital-to-construct-66mw-power-plant-in-jamaica-201210
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RE: Things Fall Apart - Can the Gov't Survive Waldadli

#8 SlyThatGuy » 2012-04-29 12:05

Yes,the government can survive ... but the current condition(the economy,employment,a nd cost of living)will have to improve very soon. Because,in reality,the people are more angry about not having jobs, about not having a livable wage, and about not having the ability to put food on their tables to feed their families than they are about the way the government is handling the issues surrounding the wadadli Power Plant and the government fencing project. So if the economy were better and the people were satisfied because they have jobs and money,they'd never consider prime minister Baldwin Spencer a totally bad leader.And besides,the people really don't want Lester Bird because they know he doesn't have the qualities that a good leader has.
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amen

#7 tenman » 2012-04-29 12:04

A well written, and reasoned article. The part which stood out to me is:
Quote:
5. There is Corky Rationalizing: The venture safeguards nationalism! Where have we heard that before? Genuine nationalizing won’t need shrouded concealment. Denying basic information to citizens is disempowering; and antithetical to nationalism. On anomalies like this C.S. Lewis says: “those who hurt us for our own good do so without end, for they do it with the approval of their own conscience”! Nationalistic passions have always been useful for hiding agendas.
Recalling an interview via Observer radio's March 25th Big Issues, with the chairman of APUA , he talked about having in his possession the 2008 APUA audit report. He then continued that the 2009 and 2010 reports are being worked on by their auditors. The dis-empowering thing is this audit report (2008) has not been made available to parliament or the public. The last APUA audit report made available to parliament was prior to 2004 (see PM Clarifies APUA Policy, 26 March 2012). Yet we have a government which claims its for transparency and accountability showing it words are a sham and breaking laws.

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tenman

a pleasure to read

#6 fnpsr » 2012-04-29 11:01

Dr. Edwards, I read your article and agree with you in regards to every facet. The one thing that struck me the most is, “We tend not to see the root cause of the problem and as a result lessons are hard to learn.” I love it. I have been saying the same thing for quite a while, yet others have ignored it and rather have engaged in partisan politics, which will never move the ball forward.

Your article was a pleasure to read and I will await parts II and III. However, I can almost predict your final conclusion, but I will wait.

“Let’s fix the little things before we attempt to fix the big things.”
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fnpsr

Very Good point brought to light!

#5 John.S .Brown » 2012-04-29 10:42

Dr Edwards is showing us how the institution of the Prime Minister is been disrespected by its occupant. This not only distroys the moral fabic of society by kills the Economy in the process. With the Cabinet been pressured into silents it make them impotent and destroys the Upp's chances to ever run this country again..
PM BS must get his cronies to explain how over $400,000,000 was spent on fences,old powerplants,Bencorp, ect...
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John.S .Brown

Fan The Flame

#4 ACLM » 2012-04-29 08:28

Thanks Dr. Edwards! This reminds me of Tim Hector's article in The Outlet: "FAN THE FLAME"! These articles under that heading were always very insightful and well written! This article is also well written and right on the money!

You forgot to mention that the problem in these islands quite often is the greedy people that latch on the Prime Ministers after their rise to power! They soon become the conscience of the Leader! So in fact the new Leader becomes a Zombie or "walking dead"! The hangers on will never want the benefits of power to disappear, so they encourage the Leader to hang on - even when he is ready to walk away (ask Lester Bird)!

We await your next article with bated breath! Thanks!
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ACLM

Need Info

#3 Robinhood » 2012-04-29 06:44

Can someone post, Mode # and serial # for
these engine, I can research manufactured date.
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Robinhood

Can the Govt Survive?

#2 Old Sage » 2012-04-29 06:29

Awesome writing guy! 6 point line you drew between this crisis and fallen governments is great commentary. Must also confess your argument about root cause of the problem is absolutely spot-on. Never saw it that way but have to agree there is a conflict of interest between our political emotions and our values. One thing we disagree on however is that this will see the back of the government. The people of this country just aren’t taken serious enough; and their will isn’t strong enough either. But this was a wonderful read, made my Sunday!
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U.P.P. MUST GO

#1 STEVE » 2012-04-29 05:56

The U.P.P. must go. They deceived us and for that they must pay. If we are "a christian society as we claim" deception is not rewarded but it is frowned upon. What are we going to get? I don't know but the U.P.P. should not be allowed to ruin this country and we hear some weak "Bird" argument. The U.P.P. have been in government for years and still nobody lock up. You can run Spencer but you can't hide. U.P.P. CANNOT GET MY VOTE AGAIN (THAT IS A FACT).
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Dr. Raymond S Edwards


 Dr. Raymond S. Edwards is a Columbia University trained organizational psychologist & international development expert; as well as a New York state certified staff development and training specialist. His consulting services include Cabinet retreats, Executive Team workshops and Organizational Change seminars. He is also an ordained minister, qualified educator, prolific writer and motivational speaker.

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