ANGELS FROM HEAVEN
Dr. Lester CN Simon
There is a quote in The Devastation of the Indies by Bartolomé De Las Casas that says, “……for in the beginning the Indians regarded the Spaniards as angels from heaven.” Some years later, Las Casas described butcher shops that sold human flesh for dog food: “Give me a quarter of that rascal there,” one (Spaniard) customer said, “until I can kill some more of my own”.
Some relationships start badly and end well, others start well and end either well or badly, and yet others start badly and are destined to end very badly. The celebration of 25 years of independence was a bad joke; a masquerade. The badness started with the Spanish interlude in recognition of the growing Hispanic community at the Independence Church Service. That threw me for a Sir Vivian six out of the Antigua Recreation Grounds. Somebody really went up their fundament.
The farce continued with three female politicians meeting the Prime Minister of Jamaica in honour of gender politics whilst the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda was on island. Mrs. Portia Simpson-Miller should not have been met on arrival at the airport by three merry and sympathetic ladies-in-waiting like three Nerissas attending Portia in the Merchant of Venice.
The tragicomedy ended with a deeper division of the people of this country on independence day. Someone must tell us the criteria for becoming national heroes and Sirs. They must offer suggestions on what national heroes do afterwards and how they cope with the burden of receiving this maximum elevation at age fifty something.
It is very often a good and wise thing to allow controversial persons to talk so they can explain themselves and remove the controversy. Everyone knows that the dictionary defines an investor as someone who expends money or effort in something from which a return or profit is expected. Simple arithmetic works out for us when an investor is given the equivalent of, say, 10 million dollars and he gives back 1 million dollars, he has given back 10% of what he got.
The same simple arithmetic also works out for us when “picky head people” (as some are wont to say) give back 50 cents out of the miserly 1 dollar they received, they have given back 50%. And 50% is proportionately more than the 10%. There are many 50% people in Antigua and Barbuda. The abject failure to recognize the 50% people, including past and present members of the Antigua Labour Party, bespeaks a national blindness that is historic, slavish, self-humiliating and self-destructive.
The elementary point must be made that there is not a single person, family or investor in this country whose wealth in this country is independent of the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda. None.
When an investor defies definition and tells us on our twenty fifth anniversary of independence that he is not here to make money; that he comes with his own money to develop the country in the name of the people, notwithstanding what our government says, beware of Greeks bearing gifts and reincarnated Columbus bearing trinkets, my dear good people. It’s like onto a man telling a woman that he does not want to have sex with her; he just wants them both to get naked and lie down so he can invest in her and watch her develop.
Such an independent woman should jump out of the bed, turn on the lights, freshen up, put on her national dress, fix her hair, powder her nose, slowly apply her lipstick smacking her lips together, look him straight in the eye, hands akimbo, and exclaim, “Sir?”