By Patrick Ferrari
Same as my last piece, I want to make this point clearer than pellucidly: “Ralph and company” (R&Co.) is allegorical — every time you see it.
Considering that this is just barely just the beginning of A&A’s tenure, it is already starting to look like Buccament. Lordy, we are again the middle of a Government-Investor schit sandwich. Poor us. (I did not use “bs” because it is an abbreviation that you reflexively unabbreviate. It makes no sense until you do, so, I spared you the righteous self-deception.)
It is either that the irreverent Royal Mill lot, A&A Capital Inc., the people doing the hotel up Ratho Mill, are short of moolah (hardly, just yet) or that they are rogues and scoundrels whose genes share the same abnormal genetic coding as the Ames-Buccament ignominy that preceded them. The former, “short of cash,” might (might?) come in good time, but the latter, “rogues and scoundrels” is now. To paraphrase the Sage of Baltimore: we are here, and it is now, and the rest is moonshine. So now, I am not businessing myself with what is to come. I’m out. Once is enough for me.
It is unfortunate that Ralph and company are so desperate and lickerish for hotel room that they would allow room-building investors to walk all over us — like they allowed Ames. By the way, was due diligence done on this motley bunch?
Two months ago, A&A imported 75 containers of cement and I was one of several contracted to haul the containers from Campden Park to Glen. It was a frenzy because they had to get the containers out of the port as quickly as possible to avoid paying excess storage; and to return the containers quickly to avoid paying demurrage. Fair enough.
Over nine days we worked our butt off. Sometimes, not all the time, as late as 9 p.m. When done, we submitted our bill in the first week of March. On March 25, the treacherous hustlers dispatched a pompous Neanderthal man (I think the capo dispatched himself) with a cheque to pay us. Pay? Ha! Pay like Ames. The morally impoverished weasel struts into our office like a courier sure of government protection, plonks down a cheque accompanied with the decree that he is paying only for the transport from Campden Park to Glen. Just so. Nothing more. No discussion. They did not pay for overtime — which was approved by an A&A carpetbagger. Nor did they pay for the additional work; work, that is, done on top of what we were contracted to do: sticking around for extended hours to shuffle containers around on site; removing containers from the off-loading position when they became empty and re-positioning full ones in their place. Some of which was done in normal time and some in overtime hours.
Fifty-three unpaid hours. Seven days’ work. We made good to reduce their excess storage and demurrage overheads, and the stinking avatars of slave labour refuse to remunerate us. That authoritarian impulse rests on knowing that their project floats R&Co.’s boat. And knowing, too, that they have the “backing” of the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which has also acted as “a principal collaborator”. A&A’s losses, then, to a remarkable degree, will belong to all of us. R&Co. is beholden to them. And they could smell it. They will be given a wide berth to ride roughshod over us. Another project that’s too big to fail. Ugh. Poor us.
Sounds familiar? It has happened before and don’t doubt,thecontemptuous sleazebags at A&A are aware of how Ames and the government played ball.
None of our extra work counts because, like Ames with his Buccament calamity, they think we are uninformed natives. They say they are not paying overtime and we must go, “Okay, massa, thank you please.” We must accept and be grateful for what they hand out. They know when things get worse, and it’s going to, R&Co. could easily arm the paramilitary, dogs and all, and send them up Ratho Mill to take care of the ugliness that will come. Just as they served it up for the (then) mighty Ames. Royal Mill could sense, if only by osmosis, that they would be able to oppress us into submission. And that is what I meant when I said, “how Ames and the government played ball”. (They are testing the move on three of us.)
Ralph Gonsalves, just so you know, I am not the only one that A&A has shafted. These swindlers take your invoice and don’t pay what they don’t feel like, then assert a right to act in a world they created. That’s how they keep school.
The prime minister better don’t do like the Orange Oaf in the White House has done with COVID-19: when time come, say how he didn’t know. The Oaf was told early on about COVID-19 and I-man is telling Ralph early on that the folks at A&A Capital Inc., is exploiting Vincentians — already. It may be only three of us, but that is today. We are just the first victims of the second wave of the virus.
Comrade, study your head good; the writing is on the wall. These unscrupulous scamps are starting where it took Ames a whole heap longer to reach. Now watch how he has you and Kelly Glass. Prostrate. Remember in June 2018 you expressed high expectations Buccament would be opened in six months? It was closed in 2016, and today you and Kelly are not two inches ahead — in real life.
Prime minister, read the writing on the wall. Don’t let the virus second wave catch you, us, you know. You are one side of the sandwich. Don’t forget that. This is a chance to redeem your resort-at-any-cost, room-centric government. Act like a responsible steward of — Vincentians. (As elections approaches, we might get lucky there. Briefly — till he win five.) It would be naïve and short-sighted to ignore these early, unmistakable warning signs. You know the saying, “fool me once …”
Meanwhile, some enterprising boat person might want to invest a pirogue to park down Chateaubelair; the pox at Ratho Mill might be in need of its services one day. Else they could use a LIAT — like Tamara Marks.
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].