|Guy Joseph - Smiling|
He can smile through just about anything - accusations of misappropriation of hurricane relief supplies, allegations and implications of impropriety and hypocrisy (which is not to corruption and greed) and ridicule of his country boy accent.
This budget, Guy Joseph might have been blissfully ignorant of any plans to expose millions of dollars in irregularities that occured while he was communications and works minister. Then again, he might have been steeling himself for an onslaught by Prime Minister Kenny Anthony and inrastructure minister Philip J Pierre - both of whom might feel quite justified in wiping that smile off his face. After all, they spent years enduring his somewhat unfair accusations of mismanagement embedded in his premiere political platform piece, "Cost Overruns."
In a somewhat unexpected move, Labour opted to keep Guy Joseph smiling a while, by not blasting him with their discovery of what they consider "millions and millions in mismanagement."
Guy Joseph - Vexed
Infrastructure minister Pierre instead of returning fire for fire, decided to close the door on Joseph's favorite topic "Cost Overruns" - especially on the Soufriere-Vieux Fort Highway.
"The problem with that project was not the tendering or any kind of corruption," he told The Flogg. "The problem is variations on a contract to raise the price in excess of the miscellaneous clause of the contract. When that happens, the contractor and the engineer must raise the red flag. They didn't. My solution has been to make the tendering process clearer and unambiguous, to ensure costing is done right and to enforce stronger monitoring and evaluation."
It sounds like Pierre might just leave Guy Joseph's 'legacy' at his ministry alone.Guy Joseph - Nervous
But within the infrastructure ministry, The Flogg has confirmed that during Joseph's time as minister, huge amounts were spent on river desilting which was either not done or over-cost; a berm in Bexon which was well-paid for was so badly done it has already eroded; $600,000 was paid for a building in Soufriere in a deal that looks like it warrants investigation (or at least some more publicity)....the list goes on.
In addition, constituency development projects and town and village councils spent over $20 million each in 2010, an astounding figure, given the amount of work done and that Pierre's infrastructure minister spent only a little more than that on their entire capital budget while doing overdue repairs to roads and bridges damaged by Hurricane Tomas.
The rumblings within the infrastructure minister all amount to bad news for Guy Joseph, but the restraint of Labour in attacking him must be the worst torture of all.
The Seventh Day Adventist Joseph made his political name by touting financial accountability as his cornerstone and common sense and personal integrity as his calling cards. Come May 14th, when Parliament re-convenes for the Budget Address, Labour might be ready to turn the tables on Joseph and give him a taste of his own medicine.
Given the information they think they have in their possession, it won't be difficult to paint Joseph as the man with the most dangerous smile in politics.
Conversely, every day that they cannot paint him is such is one more day that they let him off the hook and let him prove that they were full of hot air all along.