Inside Politics – Carnival Vs Politics

“Government in the Sunshine”Going into the 2004 general elections the United Progressive Party had a number of slogans or catchy phrases that helped sweep it into office with an overwhelming mandate.

“Government in the Sunshine”, and “What is Right will Remain Right - What is Wrong will be Made Right” are two that seemed forever etched into the collective consciousness of the Antigua & Barbuda electorate.

UPP leader Baldwin Spencer was passionate and animated each time he repeated those two slogans. Using all his tremendous political skills, Spencer not only was able to get the people to believe in him, but to believe that a government under his stewardship would embody the meaning of these slogans and that they would become his modus operandi in running a government – in other words, his guiding principles.

The 2004 election campaign seems nothing but a distant memory, because ‘government in the sunshine’ has as its underlying concept an open government that is transparent and responsive to legitimate concerns of the citizenry. So too is the second mostly widely used slogan of the UPP, ‘what is right will remain right, and what is wrong will be made right’.

Today, many people are strongly of the view that for the UPP government, these slogans were very good sounding words, and just that: words - nothing more, nothing less.

A case in point of this practice where the UPP says one thing and does the complete opposite is the current sitting of the House of Representatives. Meetings of the House are important! But sometimes the agenda of a particular meeting makes it even more significant and therefore elevates it to one above the ordinary, the mundane.

Such is the current meeting of the House of Representatives that opened on Friday, and which will continue on Monday July 30. The meeting is taking place in the heart of the Carnival celebrations when the attention of the nation is otherwise pre-occupied with ‘jam and wine’, when matters of state inevitably take a backseat.

One of the things the UPP promised prior to its 2004 elections victory was that there would be regular meetings of parliament to discuss the people’s business. The party felt, and rightly so, that meetings of parliament were haphazard and that too often the time between meetings pushed the envelope of what was constitutionally required.

Eight and a half years into its governance of the country, the UPP has not changed a thing with respect to meetings of parliament. Most meetings are just able to fall within the constitutional allowance of ninety days. So it was under the ALP, so it is under the UPP. What was wrong has not been made right; instead the party seems stuck in a mode of repeating the mistakes of the ALP, the ones about which it made the loudest complaints.

But the meeting of parliament in the midst of the Carnival celebrations is most vexing, even because of the subject matters listed for debate. The Order Paper lists, among other things: Amendments to the Banking Act, and the Antigua & Barbuda Sales Tax (later withdrawn), the appointment of five members of the House of Representatives (three from government, two from the opposition) to take part in the inaugural meeting of the OECS Assembly here in Antigua, the confirmation of the appointment of Alister Thomas as Information Commissioner, and debate on the appointment and terms of reference for the Boundaries Commission.

These are critical issues of concern to the people of Antigua & Barbuda and ought not to be done in a clandestine or stealth manner. But this is essentially the effect of holding such debate in the midst of carnival.

It is tantamount to the government of Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer saying to the people of Antigua & Barbuda: “My government and I have something to hide, so as you ‘jam an wine’ and as you debate over who will win Panorama or the Party Monarch or the Calypso Monarch, or when you are giddy with all the rum and fun of Lion’s and Red Hot Flames, we will ‘jam’ you with a crucial meeting of parliament.”

Inside Politics raised this point with Alister Thomas when news of his appointment came to hand, and it was drawn to his attention that parliament will clash with Carnival; to which he sheepishly replied: “Like V.C. (Bird) used to do.” Thomas had to be reminded that the UPP promised that ‘what is right will remain right and what is wrong will be made right’. At this, he crawled back into his shell - figuratively of course!

Truth be told, past ALP Administrations have held meetings of parliament during Carnival, and Spencer was outstanding in his criticism of the practice. He has often vowed that thus would not be how a government under his leadership would behave.

It has been suggested that the measure of a man is not what he says but how he acts, what he does.

The Boundaries Commission was set up, and according to information coming to hand it has completed its report. Sources close to the Commission even suggest that there has not been any real discussion at the level of the Commission. These sources allege that the radical changes proposed for the constituencies on Antigua were presented to the Commission via the chairman as a ‘fait accompli’, and that the Commission is merely rubber-stamping the work of someone else.

Now, if any of this is true, then this cannot be right; this goes against the spirit and intent of the Commission in the first place.

Then to add insult to injury, the meeting of the House of Representatives that among other things seeks to backdate the very appointment of the Commission and correct such glaring omissions as a terms of reference tells a long tale of someone just ‘up to no good’.

The unfortunate fact is that too many people are caught up in the carnival festivities to even pay attention to what is happening in the country. But alas! Some of us have dedicated ourselves to ensure, in whatever way possible, that underhand deeds are brought into the full glare of the sunshine! After all, this is ‘Government in the Sunshine’!

It should be noted that Carnival is not unlike an eclipse; it too, is short-lived. Soon, yet soon, the sun returns in all its glory. Just ask King Obstinate.

A word to the wise is sufficient!


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9 Comments In This Article   


Business First

#9 oversee » 2012-07-31 12:50

The nation's business mustcome first at all times. If PM Spencer has at last seen the light then good for him. What can the naysayers be thinking when they regard Carnival, the annual season of overindulgence and sometimes unseemly vulgarity as more important than the affairs of the nation? I cannot believe what I'm reading!!


Not what but who!!!

#8 It Is Me » 2012-07-31 09:39

In Antigua it's not about what you do but who does it. If ALP does it their supporters have "no problem" if UPP does it their supporters have "no problem". But if their son or daughter steals from them they are gonna beat the colour out of their skin. If politicians steal from them "no problem".

Look at the first thing allister said "V.C used to do it". So in other words he doesn't have a problem because V.C used to do it. So now Baldwin is there he should do it also is what he is saying ... wrong or right. And he is incharge of getting the information to the people!!!

It Is Me


#7 ANTIGUAN WOMAN » 2012-07-30 13:01

What is that on the side of the PM.S face? Looks like he,s growing horns.Evil do have a face,and it cannot hide for too long.



#6 tenman » 2012-07-29 11:33

Recently the term political **/whore or mercenary has gained prominence. Revelations are being made of who are the real mercenaries. When someone is willing to sell their county's future for gain, they clearly fit the category of mercenary. Admittedly I was one who saw Thomas as a man fighting for country. Showing my bad judgement, I also thought the same of both MP Spencer and MP Lovell. I then hear Lovell, and MP Spencer saying things like the oppositions role is to oppose. This clearly indicates that in their thinking the oppositions job is that of a mercenary. I can then deduce that they see government's role as not only being a mercenary in order to win an election, but also hiring mercenaries

Nuff Said


the fourth estate...

#5 Jumbee Picknee » 2012-07-29 08:45

Mr. Barnes, the opinion piece "the fourth estate" and your's, shows that, the System which governs US is clandestine and manipulative, and those in power will attempt to hold on to it by any means necessary.
Mr. Sanders opinion deals with the rum industry and its possible demise in non-US Territories in the Caribbean which can affect our economy's adversely, this is true. However, this same rum has also been a drug that has devastated many cultures, example the Indians of North America, so maybe Our Antigua, Barbuda & Redonda Parliament is discussing issues which will drastically affect its citizens rights at a time when the senses are controlled through the inebriation of alcohol.

Jumbee Picknee

De Real Observer

#4 Osbert R. Frederick » 2012-07-29 08:36

Doesn't that sound like Alister Thomas? Just ask Kublai. I wonder if the fellow knows right from wrong. The UPP better realise that not all of us will get drunk and caught up in the Carnival activities. We will remain vigilant.

Osbert R. Frederick

RE: Inside Politics – Carnival Vs Politics

#3 Reality » 2012-07-29 05:17

To late my friends the axis of evil Spencer, Lovel and Cort have won the day, the dictatorship is in place and they will drive our country into the ground.

Soon we will all be beggars fighting for food to put on our families table's maybe then we will take to the streets like the Arab Spring and bring to justice the axis of evil that has condemned us all to poverty and ridicule in the eye's of the world.

Shame on you Spencer, Cort and Lovel, may you go down in history as the most revile and hated people in Antigua history!


RE: Inside Politics – Carnival Vs Politics

#2 GoodJobBob » 2012-07-29 03:53

Jump and Wave! robert vesco Jump and Wave gerald b.u.ll Jump and Wave!! john allen mohammad Jump and Wave hmb Jump and Wave sir allen Jump and Wave!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why Not Party?????


RE: Inside Politics – Carnival Vs Politics

#1 Get Real » 2012-07-29 03:09

Let's get the party started! Ponzi scheme! Party! Exploding murder rate Party! Expropriation! Party!!!!! Party!! Party!!! Party!!!!!

That's why we let the British kick us out of the First world !!!!


What could possibly be more important than a party???????

Get Real

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Everton Barnes




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