Attitude towards everything means everything
Many years ago an uncle of mine met a Canadian businessman on a flight to Antigua. This Canadian had a sizeable investment on the island but wanted to do more. He shared his plans with my uncle, along with the difficulties he was experiencing in making this new investment.
Apparently, this investor became the target of an intended fleecing by elements in the Ministry Of Economic Development and refused to become a victim. My uncle gave my contact to this businessman and I was invited to his home for a sit-down. He told me bluntly and directly, that he wanted to make this investment but he would not pay a dime to those who had to approve the project. I was then given the undertaking of getting governmental approval for the venture without paying fleece money. My efforts failed after several meetings with personnel in the ministry. I had encountered the man with the shears.
Fleecing investors seems to be a cultural practice in Antigua, yet the damage from this apparent cultural disposition can only be devastating to the citizenry. We need to ask the very important question, “how many investments went elsewhere because of this behavior ?” This economy-slaying attitude is pathogenic; the effects are obvious but the perpetrator is more furtive. Those who would endanger the well-being of the country to grow their personal fortunes, are enemies of the state and we have only calamity to encounter if these are allowed to prosper.
The wall builders need to be treated with respect as partners in the state-building effort and not viewed as prey. Those in government with predatory dispositions should excuse themselves from the positions that facilitate this predation, or be excused. It is never wise to have the rat and the cheese in the same space.
There is no doubt that Antigua is a desirable place to do business. The bull keeps showing up but is constantly being driven through. Countries with fragile economies cannot afford to participate in the “running of the bulls” game. There can only be broken pieces /dreams left if this behavior is not arrested. This bovine needs to be apprehended and dressed for the tables of our people; it should not be allowed to run through, leaving hardship and disappointments in its wake.
Managers of Antigua and Barbuda, let us do the ” identify the wall builders thing ” and ” build up these walls! “