Hey, there, gentle people, some assistance, if you please. Did the Stephenson King government in 2007 borrow to meet promised public service pay increases? Were there not related street demonstrations until he delivered? Did a desperate King earlier take to the airwaves to say, almost in the style of a 1979 Sir John in similar circumstances: “We simply don’t have the money. We’re in a recession. We have only $2 million left in the public purse?”
Well, did he? Or am I imagining all of this? Did the then leader of the opposition Kenny Anthony at any point stand up and remind the soon to be declared “de lyin’ King” about the surplus millions he left in the government’s coffers upon stepping down as prime minister in 2006? Is there anything in Hansard to prove the opposition had challenged King’s $2 million dollars assertion?
Might we have been better off today had Rochamel never occurred? Ditto the controversy surrounding the Helenites Building in New York? Ditto the NCA fiasco? Had the King government never undertaken the derelict Daher project wouldour economic situation today be different? Had King permitted Black Bay to be sold to foreign entrepreneurs, as had been the admitted intention of the Kenny Anthony government, would our economy be today booming?
Am I crazy when I say we had early warning about the problems now crushing us to death? How many times have successive governments echoed each other about the ever-rising cost of operating the public service? Dare I say countless times? Did any of our governments once discover the gonads to act in the best interests of the nation, as opposed to the vote?
Is anyone surprised that the current leader of the opposition now is, however subtly, encouraging the public service to demand of the present government what the opposition knows the government cannot deliver without serious repercussions to the nation’s dead economy?
It once was true that if your earnings amounted to ten dollars a month and you insisted on spending a hundred in the same period that you were headed for (we might as well also use the day’s hottest phrase) “the slippery slope?” Have things changed in that regard? For how much longer can our governments spend more than the country can afford, and yet avoid what befell several other countries including a sister island. Belize is now in deep doo-doo, haven’t you heard?Yesterday someone called Timothy Poleon to say the following: “The very people who are against the implementation of VAT are the ones crying loudest for jobs. Well that’s why the government wants VAT. To pay for the jobs they are asking for?”
Wow! And all this time I was under the delusion that the private sector is the generator of jobs and that it depends on government for an environment attractive to foreign investors, without whom we all perish. Over an over we were told tourism was by far the largest egg in our basket, as if that were the most wonderful thing imaginable. Some said “the only egg,” with bananas under deadly stress, like manufacturing. Now that tourism is spoken of in Holy Grail terms and altogether conjectural, what? Well, according to Tim’s caller, you flog to death the dead horse known as the taxpayer.
Tim’s caller did not surprise me half as much as the MP who this week said in effect that SMILE, LEAP, NICE and the rest were this caring government’s way of putting a little something out there for the private sector to nibble on until it is able to stand on its own two feet at the banquet soon to come. In other words, the government is taxing the dead manufacturers, the comatose hoteliers and so on, so that SMILE etc can be sustained while they in turn sustain the dying private sector, albeit temporarily. Call it austerity economics, if you like. For sure, it’s a deadly concoction, for everyone, including NICE and the not so nice.
Surely the MP knows operational costs for regular hotels amount to about a $1.4 million dollars a month. He must know too that if you can’t put butts on plane seats then you can’t lay them on local hotel beds.
The recent optimistic tourist board announcements about increased numbers of arrivals neglected to mention the related greatly discounted rates and how little these broke arrivals spent here. People may travel to ease their stress but they don’t spend money, the lack of which caused their stress in the first place.
Oh, but it was this week business as usual in the House. All about comparisons between the fiascos Rochamel and Black Bay; all about who laid surpluses and who laid deficits; who borrowed more to pay public servants. Every digressionary tactic available was employed—every insult to the intelligence thrown across the table by the honorable goons in suits.
There was talk of VAT but only in terms of its inevitability. Not a word about the unavoidable consequences of it implementation at the worst of times. But count on the voice of some of the people to support whatever their favorite party says and does, while the other side opposes regardless. Meanwhile the press reports faithfully the political spewings, however foolish and counter-productive, however deadly—without the smallest analysis, criticism or reality check.