The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]

A man goes to a whore house and knocks on the door. An eyehole opens, “What?” The outside man says, “I want to get screwed.” “Slide $20 under the door.” The man takes out a twenty-dollar bill and slips it under the door and waits. After a while, nothing happens. He knocks again, angry. “What this time?” “I said I want to get screwed.” The man behind the door, “Again?” That is an apt analogy with airport opening dates that amounts to moral and political turpitude.

Two and a half years ago, right after the demagogues and rogues who prey on the public’s ignorance and political bias said that the airport would be completed by the end of 2014 (“a Christmas gift”), I made a public bet with any comers that it would not. I bet $10,000. I bet in March, which gave them nine months not to finish it. They didn’t; and I got no bets. Not even from the jingoists advocates of “operating by”. Then, when the same prophecy-mongers pushed back the “operating by” scam to mid-2015, I increased the bet to $15,000. This time, I gave them more than a year not to finish it. They didn’t; again. And I got no takers; again. It does not matter who believes or who does not. What matters, and matters gravely, is that the perpetrators of the fraud are not buying what they are selling. That is the salient point of this piece.

In a protracted and extravagant show of hubris, they laid down a 9,000-foot runway with barefaced stretches of fraudulent opening dates. The wheels of that strategy are beginning to come flying off. The con job isn’t working; except to win elections. The chickens are coming home to roost and the Prime Minister is in a hole. And he knows it proper. He knows it so good, he called in upon his advisors for rescue and they judged that he should cease-and-desist. Yaay. Not so fast, sport; the cease and desist does not apply to the hapless CEO. The analogical brothel-keeper is asking the johns, us, to slip their belief under door — yet again. He has yet another date; “before the end of 2016”. Weee, another Christmas present. Would somebody please show that man a calendar. A real one. Talk about lies; Ralph and Rudy have them. But counterfeit dates are only part of hustle; there’s more but I’ll mention only one: airlines coming.

Airlines coming, like opening dates, is a headache, symptomatic of a continuum of lies. It sounds, too, like the Prime Minister did not check his advisors for advice on how to market that problem. If he did, then he should fire them whole. In Noo Yawk recently, when he was regaling the fandom who came to be regaled … well, some of the fandom … he said some things that must’ve caused anxiousness among the advisors who must’ve been scrambling for the Prozac. Before I get to the Noo Yawk missteps, I hold steadfast that the lies about opening dates cannot be passed off as benign: they are vile and turns the office of prime minister into a source of dubious repute. I submit my thesis.

I do not believe that the advisors simply said, Comrade, enough already; stop the damn scam about the opening. then went their merry way hoping to divorce themselves from the immoral enterprise. I propose it went more like this. (Speech begins.) Comrade, you are Prime Minister. You are in public office. For years, you have been tricking the people with dates that are patently false. And somewhat delusional. Bogus date after bogus date after bogus date. Like how a skettel does flash she box to tease a man but don’t give he none; same how you tease the people with a LIAT and ‘four inna a row’ small plane — but no opening. The conniving work of a con artist. Misleading with intent in public office is a crime worthy of impeachment, certain.

Even without the power of impeachment, a half-decent opposition would make the crime of intent, stick. Fortunately, dread, you don’t got one of them oppositions. If the people had the right to remove lying politicians, airport openings would see you out. (We’re sure they have the right; but not the conviction.) Still, don’t look a gift horse in its mouth. Stop fooling the people; stop gaslighting them with your dates; stop the hustle. It is visible.

Watch, it will take but one question to prove intent. If you believed your dates were truthful and right (none so far is even a close approximation), with so much egg on your face you would not only have stopped and mitigated, you would’ve rolled somebody head off for gross, gross and more gross incompetence. That never happened. Why, Comrade. Why? Why nobody was held responsible for flagrant incompetence and palpable lies. They go ask that question, Comrade PM. And they go say the saying: “the upholder is worse than the thief,” because you went along. And watch; it is a question where charisma and glib wouldn’t cut it. None of them two go suffice. It is a lethal truth. Is only a dictator-like body, dealing with a dotish proletariat, could weasel out of them kind of question. And how you go duck if they ask why you didn’t rent a courier to send with pocket change from the war chest to take them bets? Joining them dots why you didn’t send a bet go be easy. (End of speech.)

So, what about airlines coming? On March 5, 2015, one and a half years ago, the PM declared, “The authorities that are involved in this under my own guidance, they have been in touch or the airlines in touch with them — American Airlines, JetBlue, Delta, Spirit, WestJet, British Airways and Caribbean Airlines.” Mudder. “Or the airlines in touch with them” would be Beache’s Air Berlin. I am taking it as a given that Air Berlin done in the “airlines coming” bag, clean. We want them (“it is huge for us”). And they want to come (“because they heard what we were doing”). Them don’t stop.

Fast forward a year and a half: Noo Yawk town hall meeting, September 2016. It was an effort in self-preservation. Hear Ralph: “In so far as the airlines are concerned, international airlines, Glen Beache is heading the operations [(irresponsible loyalty for a self-confessed greenhorn)] in that regard and he is reporting to me and I can tell you we have made great progress with one, two, three, four airlines. There is a fifth, which we are working with. LIAT has come in and looked at the operations and also Caribbean Airlines.” That is an “opening by” déjà vu. Expect more. It is the misstep: I do not believe the Prime Minister. Not on airport matters. Not after years of deceiving us — willfully. And who can blame me?

It is great that Caribbean Airlines is interested but he has already told us that CAL will fly to Argyle when it is finished. Like opening dates, he made CAL’s coming sound like a sure bet a year ago (nearly). Now, they are looking at the operations. But what “operations,” exactly? Whatever, it is a backward step — backward progress. Not “great,” as he assessed it.

Then, “LIAT has come in and looked at the operations.” Again, what “operations,” exactly? The Prime Minister is missing something. LIAT has already come. He forget? It bring him. Or he bring it. Same difference: LIAT done land. If, as the Prime Minister says, it is only now they are looking at the operations, then LIAT’s landing raises some troubling, high-demand Prozac questions — if they could get asked. Political, technical and managerial questions.

Back to CAL — and the hub and spoke network. If they come, what size planes are they coming with? If it is the ATRs, to ferry us (spoke) to Trinidad (hub), to catch their bigger planes, then, Trinidad (and Jamaica and Guyana) is the new Barbados. And LIAT dead. Whether it will be the big Boeings, or small ATRs, we are going through one of the hubs; first. Welcome to AIA with stop-over non-stop international flights. Meantime, I advise you to think to forego your hot Ju-C and cold roti. Leave them home.

Continuing with the misstep. The airport was scheduled to open four times this year alone: March, mid-2016, September and before the end of 2016. And it was finished “for all practical purposes” a year ago. Going from those and from Camillo’s international flights in September (2016), to “the construction phase of the airport is being wound down,” in October, is one step forward two steps backwards. It is reverse success; straight. “Great success” is contempt for, and an insult to, our intelligence.

I keep asking myself these questions. Does Ralph Gonsalves understand that the airport was supposed to be opened in 2011? If not, why not? Doesn’t/didn’t he expect us to get fed-up with the bullshit? At some point.

The advisors should stop the Prime Minister from talking about the airport — altogether. It would be wise and he’d be in better stead. And more believable (silence is golden).

Patrick Ferrari

A deception grotesque: airport openings by the Prime Minister: Dr The Honourable Ralph E. Gonsalves.

  1. Aug. 8, 2005. “By 2011, at the latest.” Page 9.
  2. Jan. 20, 2011. “By 2012 and flights soon thereafter.” In Parliament, to a two-part question from Arnhim Eustace: (i) when opening? (ii) and when flights?
  3. Nov.9, 2011. “… opens in 2014.”
  4. Sept. 19, 2012. “This time next year.” A parliamentary update.
  5. April 29, 2013. “Early 2014 with airlines to announced in the coming months.”
  6. January 21, 2014. … on schedule for the end of the year.” Another parliamentary update.
  7. February 2, 2015. “… will be completed this year and ready for ….”
  8. May 29, 2014. “… operational by the middle of 2015.”
  9. June 3, 2014. “… operations can begin in the first half of 2015.”
  10. Oct. 27, 2015. “The world will be watching (when we bring the US soccer team here next year, 2016).”
  11. Nov. 15, 2015. “… it will open ‘quite soon’ …”
  12. Nov. 20, 2015. “Well, the airport, is, for all practical purposes, finished.”

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

3 replies on “Inverse progress has Gonsalves’ advisors scrambling for the Prozac”

  1. Unlike your opening joke, your wonderfully satirical essay lacks a punch line (“Again?”).

    Here’s another golden oldie:

    A man walks into a bar with a duck under his arm.
    The bartender asks: “Say, where did you get the pig?”
    “It’s not a pig, it’s a duck,” the man answers.
    The barman replies: ”I was talking to the duck.”

    The last line is the punch line.

    So, Patrick, what is your punch line?

    Is it, “The con job isn’t working; except to win elections.” Somewhat amusing, right?

    Is it, “dotish proletariat”? Much better (and it also explains how this airport has won four inna row) but still not side-splitting funny.

    Is it, “Again?” Probably, but not strong or funny enough in this context.

    For me, the Comrade’s punch line (or, sucker punch, if you are an NDP sore loser) is: “Five inna row!”

    That is what our Smart Man leader is bound to win when his promise of an operational airport is finally … finally … realized sometime next year, only six years late (actually 16 years late, counting from when he conceived of building the airport soon after he gained power in 2001) on a three year project.

    And every line of the joke will be on us as his supporters shout themselves hoarse bawling “Labour Love,” because “operational” and “operating” are not the same thing.

    “No ticky, no washy!”

    ***

    P.S.: Better titles would have been: “Air-fart at the Airport” or “Breaking wind, Argyle-style”. (Short and sweet … oops … short and sour).

  2. I have noticed that many in SVG will believe ANYTHING Ralph tells them. He is probably laughing his head off knowing he has so many eating out of the palm of his hand. There are so many Vincentians that will bring an entire suitcase of 20s to Ralph’s whore house, and go home empty but satisfied, wishing they brought more.

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