WRONG_WOEID WRONG_WOEID

Where’s the Priority

Where’s the PriorityA schoolmate often told me, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail," and I have proven that to be so true.

Recently, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer signed two technical co-operation agreements and letters of intent for a number of projects to be undertaken by China in Antigua & Barbuda.

The nation’s chief servant affixed his signature to:

1. Agreement for Economic and Technical Cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for the maintenance of the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium for an amount of 6.4 million RMB.


2. Agreement for Economic and Technical Cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for a grant for the construction of the Five Islands Secondary School for an amount of 30 million RMB.

3. Agreement for Economic and Technical Cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for development projects for the amount of 30 million RMB.


The total of 66.4 million RMB is approximately US$10.5 M, with US$4.7 going toward the building of the FISC, US$1 M for the maintenance of Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, and another US$4.7 unspecified.

What? Is the prime minister serious?

And, is it so much money China has to give away that it can give Antigua & Barbuda almost five million US dollars, no questions asked?

I really don’t get this one. Who decided what these funds will be spent on? Let’s take a closer look at the school.

Perhaps these monies would have been better spent on expanding and improving a number of existing schools. There are still schools short on teachers, while classrooms are overcrowded.

Teachers need to be trained, and one may argue that a proper school for teachers may be more important for the long term than a secondary school. The facilities in this country are deplorable.

Additionally, we need to look at the system of early childhood education, as well as the primary school structure.

Before the prime minister made this arrangement with the Chinese, proper research and assessment should have been carried out. If that was done, I imagine the prime minister would have recognised that a secondary school in his constituency was a priority in education.

The last time I checked, Jacqui Quinn was the minister of Education. Is this her recommendation to the PM?

One million US for the maintenance of the stadium is unbelievable. It’s shameful to think that the Chinese built the stadium and we cannot maintain it.


The stadium was built in 2007, and the maintenance crew is Chinese, who have been here since then. Something is wrong with that picture.

Is the government of China paying for these workers to be in Antigua, or is the government of Antigua & Barbuda footing that bill? If we are footing the bill, then what is the purpose of this arrangement?

Then there is the idea of approximately US$5 M for unidentified projects. What?

Are the people of Antigua & Barbuda asleep?

We are drowning in debt and the bottom of the economy is dropping out, yet the prime minister is accepting monies to do what we know nothing of?

The way this government has been unscrupulous with taxpayers monies, sorry such an arrangement cannot be accepted. The ministry of finance should have a number of priority projects already outlined to be addressed if monies become available.

The prime minister has taken begging the Chinese to a new level. Something is not right here.


And here we go again with the lack of transparency and the real need for accountability - abilities Spencer and the UPP are sincerely void of.

Many families are struggling to pay extremely high utility bills while others are faced with hardships from high unemployment rates.

And amidst all this, the prime minister can accept US$10 M to put into non-priority areas, including unidentified projects?

C’mon Prime Minister, we expected much better from you and your colleagues when you were swept into office on the big blue wave of transparency and accountability.

Remember your mantra, “People First”.

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17 Comments In This Article   

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RE: Where’s the Priority

#17 Pellucid » 2012-03-26 00:07

PM BS is doing all he can do to postpone the inevitable. The British gave up in '81, the US became disinterested after the cold war ended, Dato Tan was a passing fancy and we all know how the tale of Sir Allen ended.

Unless there is life on Mars willing to adopt a so-called country, China is the last resort.
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Pellucid

Thanks to The Magician & Scribe

#16 John French II » 2012-03-25 20:41

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock. I wish to sincerely offer congratulations to Ian "Magic Hughes" who within the last weeks has attempted to raise the level of discourse, through this news portal, and in essence challenged his countrywomen/men to peel back each layer of the onion and look at what's inside Antigua & Barbuda through the microscope of a professional technician. That he started out very poorly is without question. That he demonstrated a remarkable acuity and intelligence by listening to many of the bloggers and seized the time moving the discussion away from the personal to policy and strategy demonstrating a maturity sadly lacking in many scribes, pharisees, hangers on, "edge up Arrivistes", Politicos and downright badminded people.
In trying to show that the many Developmental problems are a result of no Strategic Planning, the contrast of Long term Planning as exhibited by GoAB and The PRoC has been extensively suggested by JF. The Paradigms are shifting Rapidly. GoAB must be more Nimble and Strategic. www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/25/china-rise-ignorance
MOE must encourage a culture of Planning. Thanks Mr. Hughes.
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John French II

RE: Where’s the Priority

#15 ANTIGUAN WOMAN » 2012-03-25 18:12

The unspecified amount is for Elections 2014.Why are we even debating this??
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ANTIGUAN WOMAN

Where is The A&B Priority? Here is The PRoC Priority! PT6

#14 John French II » 2012-03-25 15:59

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock. This 'mere voice in the wilderness' will suggest a more relevant question, since A&B is being fiscally adjusted and structurally reformed by the Bretton Woods Bankers & The North Atlantic Nations are mendicants to the economic dimensions of Chinas Geopolitics, of who is setting the Priority for Antigua & Barbuda's Human Capacity and Capital Development? Review these with PEST & SWOT.
The Maintenance of The Stadium: Construction driven by External Forces. Had they upgraded the ARG, relocated and Built a New Prison one could suggest that we were setting priority. Human Capacity Development. PRoC providing maintenance after Five Years and we shall be paying them. They are setting the Priority.
The Building of the Secondary School in Five Islands. Students will be bused from many points. Costly Fuel Expenditure. Again Why not Renovate and Upgrade? JF reminds of USE and World Bank funds. Hence the urgency to meet two critical dates of 2014 & 15. Blue GoAB & World Bank setting the Priority.
Unencumbered Funds:Clearly, Priority being set by Blue GoAB & PRoC.
Governed No Say.
Heaven Help The Nation Of Antigua & Barbuda
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John French II

Where is The A&B Priority? Here is The PRoC Priority! PT5

#13 John French II » 2012-03-25 15:28

Notes From A Native Son Of the Rock. For the Youth who may wish to learn more from other Caribbean Scholars, Politicos & Business Movers and Shakers go to a Colection by Norman Girvan: www.normangirvan.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/china-in-the-caribbean-2007-2011.pdf
The Scribe in searching for "Where's the Priority?" has raised seeral questions, none of which are new and have been expanded on and answered in the past. Three Specific PRoC Aid Projects to the GoAB have been cited by the Scribe: Maintenance of the Stadium; The Building of The Secondary School and The Unencumbered $4.7M USD. With regard to the Scribe's question, this mere voice in the wilderness has stated and demonstrated that there has been no Strategic Plan in the area of Development. There has been a Strategic Plan and Prioritization with regard to the First Past The Post Electoral Structure & Processes. Such Governments base their Modus Vivendi and Operandi on being elected whenever and iff an ellection is called. Hence "the Paramountcy of The Party." The Good Hon Dr. PM reponsible for Foreign Policy surrounds himself with a Cadre of Ambassadors.
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John French II

Where is The A&B Priority? Here is The PRoC Priority! PT4

#12 John French II » 2012-03-25 14:54

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock. Back Quickly from the East to West to Caribbean: Sir Ron: Quote:
The Caribbean ... is becoming a living example of the way that China has strengthened its influence by moving into countries that the US and other Western nations have neglected.... the US been preoccupied with Afghan, Iraqi wars, ‘war on
terror’, paying little attention to its neighbourhood, the PRoC have established a presence throughout the Caribbean that, in large part, is regarded as beneficial to the people.... In fairness, it should be noted that “the PRoC always bases itself on the principle of equality and mutual benefit ... . It never regards such aid as a kind of unilateral alms but as something mutual”. PRoC has filled a void left by the United States and other Western nations. US assistance to the Caribbean region has dwindled except in the area of interest to the US – security including drug trafficking. Little attention has been paid to the interests of the region for infrastructural development, improving education & health facilities, and laying the foundations for investment that could produce employment and technical know-how.
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John French II

Where is The A&B Priority? Here is The PRoC Priority! PT3

#11 John French II » 2012-03-25 14:20

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock. The PRoC loudly shouts that Quote:
China provided 256.29 billion yuan (38.54 billion U.S.dollars) in aid to foreign countries, including 106.2 billion yuan in grants, 76.54 billion yuan in interest-free loans and 73.55 billion yuan in concessional loans.
The recipients of China's foreign aid are mainly low-income developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Oceania and Eastern Europe, with Asia and Africa accounting for 80 percent of the total figure, ...In the document, China also pledges to further improve its foreign aid and calls for the international community to "strengthen cooperation and jointly rise to the challenges facing developing countries".
North Atlantic view: Quote:
Foreign aid forms an important part of international diplomacy. Almost all countries use foreign aid to extend their international influence. China, too, aid is an essential part of the Chinese diplomatic engagement with SIDS. ...China is bound to extend its aid to more countries and in new areas with the increase in its economic might. ... China’s aid challenges the aid policy of Western states.
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John French II

Where is The A&B Priority? Here is The PRoC Priority! PT2

#10 John French II » 2012-03-25 13:59

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock. Why travel all the way to the PRoC?
Strategic Thinking suggests that you must understand your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. In the case of the GoAB Priority and its entanglement with the PRoC Priority, it is of the utmost importance that the "Bewildered and Disenchanted Electorate" examine the Political, Economic, Social and Technological -including ecological/environme ntal Factors. Here is the PRoC on its "White Paper". China's foreign aid falls into the category of South-South cooperation and is mutual help between developing countries as China is the world's largest developing country, has a large population, a poor foundation and uneven economic development while development remains an arduous and long-standing task...
Chinese doctors treat 260 mln patients by 2009 in foreign aid
Chinese gov't provides int'l emergency aid on 200 occasions in five years
China provides 256.29 billion yuan in foreign aid
China extended aid to 161 countries by end of 2009
China's foreign aid serves for South-South cooperation
China works with international organizations in providing foreign aid
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John French II

Where is The A&B Priority? Here is The PRoC Priority! PT1

#9 John French II » 2012-03-25 13:19

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock. Some would say that the GoAB has been "Broken by The Economy, Baffled by IMF Fiscal Adjustment & Structural Reform and ECCU Monetay Policy". Some suggest that the GoAB has come under some Rasputin like spell at the hands of Ali Baba and the Arab Traders. Some suggest gross exponential incompetence and lack of brains - Human and Emotional Intelligence. Yet other "untouchables", "the wretched of the earth" and "wharf rats" echo the words of Dr. Paget Henry "Ethical Badmindedness" led by the Thoughts & Bluebook of the Chairman touting a la Bernard Coard "The Paramountcy of The Party". Somewhere amongst those conflicted and tortured responses lie buried the GoAB's Strategic Direction & Priority. Since it appears that the GoAB is in an Adversarial Role with some Segments of The Electorate and Governed, It behooves the disenchanted to look at that which has been published from The PRoC.
Prior to revisiting JF's comments on the Scribe's Where is the Priority, Journey on a slow junk to the PRoC. In April 2011, The PRoC issued a "White Paper" which outlined the basic features of it's Foreign Aid Policy. Too Many Missed or Ignored.
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John French II

a picture is worth a thousand words

#8 fnpsr » 2012-03-25 12:31

A ood very good article! I might as well add that "A picture is worth a thousand words." It speaks volumes. That is a sign of how Antigua will look in the very near future.

"Let's fix the little things before we attempt to fix the big things."
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fnpsr

A PEOPLE TRAP IN THE PAST

#7 OO7 » 2012-03-25 12:05

THE PEOPLE ARE BLINDED BY THEIR HATRED FOR BIRD AND ALP THAT THEY WILL ACCEPT ANYTHING FROM SPENCER AND THE UPP... ALP PHOBIA HAVE ANTIGUA PEOPLE TRAP IN THE PAST
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OO7

PM Don't care

#6 Dr. DREDD » 2012-03-25 11:48

When will Magic and others understand that this is not about sense, or right and wrong or legal and illegal. This is about stay in power at any cost. The UPP has been UNABLE to attract any investment so selling out Antigua to the Chinese will have to do.
Why do you think they are going to the Privy Council on cases they know they will lose? The Half Moon Bay case and the Stanford Development case will both cost us millions and we WILL lose. But by then they will be out of power and the next government and the people will be left with these debts.
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Dr. DREDD

pm and bunch just lack managerial skills

#5 galileo » 2012-03-25 09:45

they failed to plan because they just dont have the competence and brains to even plan anything period! square peg in round hole,shuffling incompetence from office to office not gonna solve a damn thing but create more mess and chaos.the latest episode is the port and Apua saga.
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galileo

Magic well said

#4 tenman » 2012-03-25 08:45

This part stood out:
Quote:
One million US for the maintenance of the stadium is unbelievable. It’s shameful to think that the Chinese built the stadium and we cannot maintain it. The stadium was built in 2007, and the maintenance crew is Chinese, who have been here since then. Something is wrong with that picture.
Magic when you consider the fact that so many people are out of work, especially persons in the construction industry, the PM is mad.

..
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tenman

RE: Where’s the Priority

#3 Morris » 2012-03-25 08:35

Very powerful article that highlights incompetence to the nth degree.
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Morris

David and the Doc!

#2 Fergie » 2012-03-25 07:58

Sorry Magic don't waste your time speaking to PM BS...you need to speak to the real power brokers: SHAOULIN and MAN SOUR!

Poor Baldwin has been out of the loop for many years now! And, of course, by extension, the rest of the UPP cabinet is out of the loop too!
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Fergie

where is Silston

#1 carvaa » 2012-03-25 05:57

The big priority in the UPP first term in government was to highlight the many outstanding debts the ALP owed to the world, which cause us to be look upon as a bad country for investment.
We must bring this country back to respectability and out of shame, so the first thing we did was pay back debts that were hundred years old while our people remain jobless and hungry, further sinking deep into poverty. Then comes the big one the IMF by the way are they still around? now with all this debt repayment going on, in the back ground we continue to borrow and beg from the big three Cuba, China and Chavez, even a little island across the water said they gave us a loan. My question is when you add up all loans, grants, assistance or what ever receive by the UPP government in just under two full term in office are we better off knowing what we really started out to do in the first term? and that is clearing our name from debts and being a respectable country once again?
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carvaa

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Ian 'Magic' Hughes

Ian 'Magic' Hughes is an Antiguan Journalist.






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