Sat | Aug 8, 2020

Letter of the Day | JLP Government – hole in the bag

Published:Saturday | September 21, 2019 | 12:00 AM


When I was 11 years old, my big brother, who was 17 years old, three of his friends, and I went to catch crabs in a swamp near to our home in Windsor Castle, Portland. We all took off our shoes and placed them in a crocus bag intended for the crabs, which was being carried by my brother’s friend named Herbie. Herbie was bigger and stronger than everybody else.

Not long after we started the hunt for crabs, we struck gold, as the first was caught and placed in the bag. As luck would have it, we caught another within seconds and put that one in the bag as well. Our uncanny luck continued unbelievably, as we continued to catch crabs at regular intervals with relative ease, so much so that we decided to end the hunt much earlier than expected and started the trek back to solid ground.

As soon as we hit dry land and decided to put our shoes back on, we realised that we had only caught a single crab, as the crocus bag had a hole in it, through which the crab continuously escaped and was recaptured. However, the weight of the bag with the shoes in it masked the fact that we were catching the same crab, over and over.

The present JLP Government reminds me of that memorable night of crab hunting. They are making really good progress in governance. However, there is a large hole in the JLP Government’s prosperity bag!

It is obvious that strides have been made with managing the economy, jobs are being created, and a number of other indicators suggest that progress has been made. However, the crabs are escaping and it appears that no one is noticing as the bag is weighed down with empty boots.

The Government has been saddled with a very high corruption perception: in the $600m debushing scandal: the $200m used-car acquisition for the police force; the Petrojam saga; the NESoL affair; Ruel Reid-Caribbean Maritime University, among others.

Then, of course, there is the whole matter of crime, for which no credible plan has so far been presented, except for the continuous use of SOEs, which appear to be adversely affecting legitimate citizens and businesses more so than disrupting criminal activities.

The prime minister and his Government need to mend the hole in their crocus bag really fast. Otherwise, like Herbie discovered, only dirty shoes will be there when the time comes for counting.