This, my first article for 2011, is a call to Denzil Douglas to stop playing ‘hoop’ with us. But more importantly, it is a call to us to stop letting him play ‘hoop’ with us. It is time for us to bring an end to his game.
Indeed, Denzil and his style are now, to borrow a phrase from our reigning calypso King, Pungwa, ”old clothes”, and 2011 is the time for us to “take the old clothes off”.
2011 is the year in which we, the people, 50,000 of us, need to take the lead on the course to transparency, accountability, good governance and integrity in public life. And that is a course which Denzil is unable to navigate.
It is the year for us to demonstrate that it is we, not eleven elected and three nominated parliamentarians, and certainly not a little tyrant, who have the power in this land.
The time is now. The evidence has piled up to the sky, and we need to save ourselves and our children. We need to drive this nation towards true democracy and to rescue it from the hands of a fiscal Dracula.
How can we continue to tolerate a man who had campaigned so vigorously for accountability, transparency and integrity in public life while in Opposition, but who, after fifteen, going on sixteen, straight years in office, has still willfully and deliberately refused to pass the appropriate legislation?
How can we continue to lower and disrespect ourselves by putting up with him? Is it any wonder that he is so arrogant and disrespectful towards us?
He has fooled the nation long enough. Worse still we have allowed him to fool us long enough.
Lord have mercy, Man. Even to the blindest of the blind can see that Denzil Douglas has no appetite for legislation that forces integrity in public life and freedom of information. And even Stevie Wonder can see that Denzil has not the slightest interest in democracy and good governance.
So we cannot therefore be faulted for concluding that he has something to hide, and for believing that he is mortally afraid for us to know about government contracts, concessions granted, lands sold( in some cases two and three pieces to cronies who have become wealthy over the last fifteen years on salaries of $6,000-7,000 a month and less), and so on, and, most importantly, about his own net personal worth.
Yet while he ducks and hides from us, and plays ‘hoop’, he is on his high horse, taking our bank account numbers and threatening to take money from our accounts if we don’t pay VAT.
Has he submitted his account particulars with regard to the EC$325,000.00 per annum, in rents that he will collect from the Taiwanese Government for Llewellyn’s Haven? Will he pay VAT on that rental income?
Imagine, he, the lead servant of the Labour Party, cannot account to his Party on the activities of Lex Consulting, but he wants to put his nose in our business by going into our accounts to collect VAT.
And, by the way, if Lex Consulting is doing business in St.Kitts, is it paying VAT too?
Did you hear him in Parliament when the VAT Bill was being debated? “They have to pay!”, he said belligerently.
And when he says that they have to pay, is he including those parasites of his who have said publicly that they are not paying it?
Do you see how people’s faith is being tested?
He wants to know, demands to know, our business. And we are private citizens.
But we are not allowed to know his although he is the leader of the country, occupying the highest position of public trust, and is the person who needs to set the best example for integrity, transparency and accountability.
He, the man who must be the most open and forthcoming, is ducking and dodging, and playing ‘hoop’ with information that we should have and must have.
We have to demand this information unconditionally and without further delay. Even if we have to shut down the country to let him know that we will no longer put up with his bull-crap.
And have no doubt, that is exactly what we will do this year. He will not be allowed to get away.
But there is some other information which we must demand. For example, how much does it cost us to feed him every day in his office? Does he pay electricity and water bills? If not, why not?
And if not, then while the poor people in St. Paul’s and elsewhere in St.Kitts will be hit with an 85% increase in these bills from this month and the rest of St.Kitts, residential and commercial, will face increases of 30% upwards, why does he get to go scot free? Should he be exempt when everybody else has to pay? Does a real leader not suffer the pain with his followers? Especially pain that he has inflicted on us?
Denzil needs to publish his electricity and water bills and his payments for these utilities. He needs to show us the paperwork.
And when the householders in Mattingley Heights, Bird Rock, Frigate Bay, and Half Moon Bay are soon made to pay for garbage removal services, will he be exempted from that too?
He is a rich man, according to Hartley and Asot. So why should he get a free ride off the poor people of this country? Indeed, why should he get a free ride at all, while other rich folks have to pay through their noses?
He needs also to explain to the nation if Llewellyn’s Haven was granted duty free concessions to be upgraded under the Cricket World Cup legislation although the intention had been, and agreement reached, to rent the property to the Taiwanese Government?
He needs to tell the nation if anyone got commissions when big loans were negotiated for Government.
He needs to give the nation full details as to why Government invested in Kittitian Hill, and when. And why it was only in his winding up of the Budget Debate that the country was told of this.
He needs to tell us how much Government paid for its shares in Kittitian Hill and what percentage of the shares it owns. Who are the persons representing it on the company’s board?
He needs to show us the accounts of the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation. And to stop fooling with us about it being a private entity. It belongs to the Government and in exchange for monies paid into to it, the Government issues passports of this Federation.
So SIDF is the people’s business and he is out of order referring to it as a private thing.
He needs to show the country the agreement with Henley & Partners and to tell us who pays the rent and other expenses for Henley’s Office in the Ursula Amory Building on Central Street. And he needs to justify paying Henley & Partners US$20,000.00 for each SIDF application.
He also needs to tell us if any if that money that went to Henley & Partners in this manner ended up funding the ‘It’s Working’ political campaign for the Labour Party in the last election.
He needs to explain to us what he meant when he said that Government is buying back La Vallee? Who did we sell La Vallee to, when, and for how much? And if we sold it, how come we owe over $200 million for it? How dat go?
And how much are we going to pay to buy it back? Does anyone get a commission, and if so, who and how much?
And why did he wait until winding up in the Budget debate to tell us that?
He needs to be punished by the people of this country for saying, in effect, in Parliament in the said Budget Debate, with his usual Napoleonic arrogance, that he had been justified in saying ”national debt, me arse” at a public meeting some years earlier
I say this because he knows that all of that debt that he piled up on the backs of the people of this country did not arise as a result of money wisely spent and in their best interest. A lot of it was created from cronyism, patronage, mismanagement and recklessness.
If the people were to see the contracts and the other documents, the whole truth would be revealed.
But that is exactly what he does not want to happen.
Now what would be so hard about getting disclosure on such matters from a leader who is committed to accountability and transparency and to integrity in public life?
If a leader is doing the right thing, and doing the thing right, then there is truly nothing to hide?
But Denzil is playing ‘hoop’
However, we are going to catch him. This year too!
In my next article, I will outline the plan to catch him. And the action starts right about now.