THE NEW (not improved) GEORGE ODLUM
What’s short, fat, pompous and wants to be George Odlum when it grows up?
Okay. Let’s try another one.
Who is the Minister of Shopping?
And finally, which minister has presided over the largest growth in salary expenditure in this time of cost cutting?
The answer to all of these questions is the same.
Alva Baptiste, orator, actor and Head NIC of the People’s Republic of Laborie always reminded people of George Odlum. In spite of the fact that he is slightly more Velon John that George Odlum in his writing style, his platform performances made him a star in the Labour Party long before he found himself in Parliament, where, in his mind, he rightfully belongs.
When Alva speaks on the Market Steps, the crowds alternative between hanging on his words and exploding into cheering when his well-timed literary fuses spark of the dynamite he plants in their minds.
So when Alva Baptiste first became foreign affairs minister, it was odd that anyone would have expected anything better from him than they expected of good old George.
You know the stories about George. Bottles of booze in the desk drawers. Constant serving of the kakalak constituency. A real Napoleon in the Orwellian sense of the word.
Well, Alva Baptiste is different than that. And yet, somehow, the same.
For all his leftist rhetoric, Alva Baptiste has effectively allowed his foreign ministry to become the most nepotistic thing in the current Labour government. Where other governments found local jobs for the boys, Alva Baptiste has facilitated a most unwarranted and unproductive expansion of the foreign affairs ministry that doles out millions and millions a year in wages, allowances and frivolities, for what?
For what, Alva?
Odlum brought a stadium in the end. What have you to show for your time in office apart from well-constructed, but somewhat disingenuous speeches?
The difference between Alva’s rhetoric and his actions widens into a maw when one considers the scandals swirling around him, some of which are of his making and some of which existed long before him but continue unabated, under his leadership.
Take for example, Yasmin Walcott…okay, fine, we dealt with that and we’re waiting for him to deal with it. Next!
Take the growing concern over a visa scam in which Haitians are paying up to $2500 to get Lucian visas, where, when they arrive, they simply slip into Martinique through the back door.
Take the Sri Lankans who arrived here during their last period of national violence. They reported paying up to $20,000 for St Lucian passports with names on them like Elibox. Vigilante customs and immigration officials red flagged the overly-accented coolies, but their status in St Lucia was soon quietly regularized without any investigation into their $20,000 passports or any report to the public.
Then, there’s the question of results. If you give a guy a horrendously excessive million dollar entertainment allowance and he comes back with a hundred million in investment, you might be tempted to ask him if he needs a bigger allowance. But anybody you give a quarter who keeps coming back for another quarter eventually becomes a nuisance.
Alva is also personally responsible for malpalaying the one friend St Lucia has with money to spare. Taiwan’s close friendship could inject entire percentage points of growth into the St Lucian GDP. It save the last government from collapsing, even though it couldn’t save them from electoral suicide. Taiwan’s friendship could have been a most critical partnership at this time, but can’t because Alva was one of those who, while in opposition, wouldn’t get off Tom Chou’s dick, jacking him and jacking him, in an effort to persuade Lucians that the Taiwanese were just as corrupt as Flambeau.
If Alva had any diplomatic or strategic skills, he would have flayed and flogged Flambeau without ever touching Tom Chou. He would never have rushed off to Beijing before sitting down with the incumbent Chinese Embassy to discuss what accommodations could be made between them. It would definitely have made life easier for him, his party and his country, right now.
If he had any integrity, he would fight tooth and nail to clean up the foreign service. If he had any smarts, he would not be making a pompous ass out of himself while aiming to be the next Labour leader after Kenny Anthony retires.
Instead, he has earned a reputation among his friends and closest allies as The Minister of Shopping.
Why, you ask?
Because he not bulling. He not jaballing. He not drinking drunk. He not smoking. He not achieving. He not stealing. He not trying. He not doing nothing, except shopping. The only thing he really achieves apart from making words sound nice, is shopping.
The reason why Alva Baptiste’s foreign ministry gets nothing done is because all he’s doing is shopping.
Talk is cheap. And the foreign affairs ministry can buy a lot of stuff with the money he saves with his cheap talk.