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Deal Or No Deal

What kind of a deal was the Prime Minister alluding to?Immediately after the Antigua Labour Party’s failed attempt at the no-confidence motion in Parliament, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer went on the defensive.

I expected Spencer to come out on the offensive but he was quick to remark, “I did not cut a deal.”

One would have thought that Spencer would have blasted the ALP and Leader of the Opposition Lester Bird for making a mockery of the process.



But Spencer was more concerned with the perception of a deal being brokered.

But what kind of a deal was the Prime Minister alluding to?

Why was it important that the electorate understand that he (Spencer) did not cut a deal with anyone?

Well, deal or no deal, surely both the government and the opposition were happy to get through this political episode without the electorate being reminded of their alleged financial improprieties.

Both sides claimed they were ready to dish out the “dirt” on each other.

When Bird “called in sick” and went home, it seemed like a very plausible excuse, since there is no secret of his health challenges.

Since Attorney General Justin Simon suggested otherwise, the Spencer “no deal cutting” comment may, like Bird’s defence, have a different side.

With Willmoth Daniel absent with no explanation, Bird and the ALP seemed to be in the driving seat for a no-confidence motion.

The number of persons the ALP needed to convince to “switch” alliance dropped by one.

Interestingly, MP Asot Michael, who Simon said asked to have the motion withdrawn, makes the “no-deal” comment something to ponder.

Of all the “dirt” that the UPP has on the ALP, the IHI saga is most current; a matter which involves, among others, Bird and Michael.

So what about this IHI issue?

Already, the late Bruce Rappaport repaid government US $12 million following information gathered by financial investigator Robert “Bob” Lindquist.

The Lindquist report traces the payment by government, from December 1996, of the monthly sum of US $403,334 out of the consumption tax revenue paid by West Indies Oil Company to the various persons in receipt of these monies, with details of the companies through which the monies were sent, to what bank accounts, in which countries and how these monies were finally disbursed.



When Rappaport made the payment to government, Simon held a press conference and explained aspects of the IHI matter.

The AG said that the report clearly indicates that persons had plotted to allegedly steal large sums of money from Antigua & Barbuda.

"These monthly sums were paid out of government funds pursuant to an irrevocable letter of instructions right up until February 2006, when I obtained an injunction from the High Court in Antigua & Barbuda stopping the continuance of the payments, and freezing the bank account here in Antigua of an associated Florida company called Debt Settlement Administrators LLC.

" It was a gigantic conspiracy engineered and affected by persons in high places to rob this country of millions of dollars right up to the year 2021, a burden that would be carried by your children and your children's children. Consider this.

"These monthly payments were, by an agreement dated 11th September 1997, to be made over a period of 25 years beginning December 31, 1996 (retrospectively nine months before the agreement was signed) and would have amounted to an aggregate payment of US $121,000,200. Out of that monthly sum of US $403,334 coming out of the Government Treasury, only US $199,740.25 would be legitimately paid to IHI Japan amounting to an aggregate sum of US $59,922,075 over the 25 years.

“In simple arithmetical terms, US $61,078,125 in excess of the total sum due to IHI Japan would have been misappropriated out of the Treasury and gone “ah gwasa” over that 25-year period.”

Also involved were parcels of lands that were fraudulently appropriated by certain members of the former administration for their own personal gain and enrichment and to the detriment and financial pain to the people of this country.

So, that according to Simon, is the IHI matter in a nutshell.

Obviously, the Guns to Colombia and the Israeli/Antigua guns to South Africa scandal would certainly become part of the debate.

The MBS scandal and the Sir Archibald Nedd report on the Airport Funding scandal would also be fair game for the government.

Lands at the airport sold to Ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford would be a talking point for Spencer and his team.

Bird’s inability to pay workers during a time of plenty and the rape of the statutory corporations would be weapons of the UPP.
The ALP would also come out swinging.

The opposition would have been ready to show the many pictures of the Chinese Power Plant which some in the ALP believe to be a huge rip off.

The government received a concessionary loan of US $52 million from the Exim Bank of China to build a brand new power plant. Pictures suggest otherwise.

The loan, the opposition would have argued, is illegal since the government never got parliamentary approval as required by law.

The Fencing Scandal where some EC $46 million (EC $23 already paid) was set aside for a number of contractors would be another hot topic.



Millions of dollars given to local contractors for road and side-walk constructions would also have been discussed.

The ALP would have painted Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer as a dictator and would surely discuss Spencer’s relationship with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Harold Lovell’s handling of the economy would have been another hot button issue in that debate.

The millions of dollars spent on the road at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground as well as monies spent for World Cup 2007 would have been in the ALP’s arsenal.

The money spent for the Romantic Rhythms Festival is an issue the opposition would most definitely have asked the government to explain.

The Voluntary Separation Package to shrink government, but that instead heralded increased government employment, would have been another issue the ALP would need explanations for.
 
Willmoth Daniel's letters, one stating that he was offered a bribe by one of his colleagues and the PM's subsequent dismissive attitude towards that allegation are ammunition the opposition would have used.
 
In addition, Daniel's call for an inquiry into the power plant would be a matter exploited by the ALP.
 
In fact, while there are many other issues that both the government and the opposition would have debated, one thing is clear.
 
These two organizations have plenty to explain to the people of Antigua & Barbuda.

So whether implied, suggested or otherwise, the allegedly deal could only be to hide the failures of these two incompetent administrations from the public discourse.

One thing is certain: if there was any deal it was not cut with the electorate but rather with those who intend to continue to “rape” the people’s purse.

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9 Comments In This Article   

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RE: Deal Or No Deal

#9 ANTIGUAN WOMAN » 2012-06-11 19:09

With all this evidence on the IHI,which supposedly were found out long before the ALP even started with the fencing saga,why was no one persecuted a long time ago,afterall this was the platform on which the upp was re-elected. Sounds to me like all BS.**gats always find their way to each other,they can smell each other at a distance.A Michael can spill no secrets about the ihi,even there was something to be spilled,he was an integral part of that entire saga.Why would Lester Bird in the first place decided on this move of no confidence,if as it is now put he knew he had something swinging over his head.He may be aged,but i dont think he is foolish,only a fool would do something like that.
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Magic do me a favor part 2 of 2

#8 tenman » 2012-06-11 16:58

If you prefer not to beleive the IMF, here is Patrick Ryan, a SS board member,in Oct 2009:

Quote:
If government continues the present trend of not paying employee contributions into the Antigua & Barbuda Social Security Board of Control, the statutory body will be depleted of funds by the year 2012.Social Security May Soon Be Bankrupt...Last year, for the first time, we received approximately 10 months statutory contributions of funds from government, but it stopped in October 2008, Ryan said on the weekend. By Berneta Toulon - Wednesday, October 21st, 2009, Daily Observer.
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tenman

Magic do me a favor part 1 of 2

#7 tenman » 2012-06-11 16:54

Magic whenever you speak on not paying the statutory deductions, try and recall that the practice has continued during the UPP time in office. I bring this up because I constantly hear via Observer Radio that the ALP never paid SS (untrue to some extent) while nothing is said about the same practice under the UPP. So you do not need to take my word for it, let me point you to a statement from the IMF with info. received from the current government.The IMF April 2006 Country Report No. 06/145 (http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2006/cr06145.pdf) shows via the table on page 14 that monies owed to statutory corporations (Unpaid contributions) stood at 161.3 (435.51 million EC Dollars) at the end of 2004, however Lovell claimed in Sept 2011 that moneys owed to stat corps amounted to almost 1 billion EC. Does someone wish to suggest that the invisible ALP had was at work creating 600 million more arrears after 2004?
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tenman

not pleased

#6 rupert j. » 2012-06-11 16:48

There is a lot of disenchantment with the political parties in antigua/barbuda at this time in our history so now is the time for another voice to come to the fore one that is serious and have the people and country at heart and not themselves. Are you telling me that all of the capable men and women of this country does not want to step up to serve if so you deserve exactly what you get. now is the time to step up or shut up.
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rupert j.

RE: Deal Or No Deal

#5 June too Soon » 2012-06-11 11:59

Beelzebub cannot cast out Beelzebub
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June too Soon

RE: Deal Or No Deal

#4 fnpsr » 2012-06-11 11:49

While some of the points made by Magic have noting to do with the current situation , relative to the “no-confidence motion”, I do believe that he has made the case why the UPP should be removed from office and simultaneously, has made the case why the ALP should not be put back in office at this time.

Moreover, Magic has provided the talking points and campaign hot **on issues for an independent party to take back the island. “Donna C”, are you listening? Are you one of the 17?

“Let’s fix the little things before we attempt to fix the big things.”
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RE: Deal Or No Deal

#3 DadliMan » 2012-06-11 11:34

Magic, more so than on any other medium, you have opened our eyes as to why neither party could entertain a debate such as the no confidence motion would have generated. For the "greater good", it appears as if both parties decided it would not be in their best interest to get bloody.

Unfortunately, this sounds the alarm that even if we get a change of government, no one will be brought to justice for playing fast and loose with our hard-earned tax dollars. These will make good talking points during the campaign, but after that, precious little else.

The politicians on both sides of the aisle routinely take the electorate for fools. It is high time that we let them know that they can fool some of us some of the time, but never all of us all of the time.
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DadliMan

RE: Deal Or No Deal

#2 no sex b4 marriage » 2012-06-11 10:33

The joke is on the PEOPLE. We "kill" ourselves for politicians and political parties (wear the shirts, defend them to the end, cuss ppl on the opposing side etc) and at the end of the day the politicians "go to bed" with each other. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors. May I remind us that we live in an evil world where we "wrestle not against flesh and blood." Politicians are humans too, so nah put your last ounce of trust in them.
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no sex b4 marriage

AND THE SAGA CONTINUES........

#1 TC » 2012-06-11 08:07

One wonders if this "No-confidence motion" was really set to come up for discussion. Not really sure what the opposition intended, but it was clearly not for transparency. They can't even get their stories straight. Once again, We, the people are on the losing end.
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Ian 'Magic' Hughes

Ian 'Magic' Hughes is an Antiguan Journalist.






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