Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Where my tax dollars went over the past ten years. Part 2

In Part 1 spoke about some of the things which made me convinced that I couldn't vote UPP in the election this week. Most of them had to do with hundreds of millions of tax dollars squandered in UPP led government decisions. Why they made those decisions is beyond me. People will have to make their own conclusions, but whatever were the reasons, the wasting of our tax dollars didn't end there.
Here are a few more ways money was thrown away.

EC $47 million was spent on fencing and bathrooms for schools and sports facilities. In Parliament and during budget debates it came to light that some of the facilites that had been fenced according to the records still had no fences at all. Light was never shed on what happened with the EC $47 million and there is little doubt that we didn't get 47 million worth of fencing and bathroom facilities. The media tried to find out more and covered the story for a short while without being able to get more specifics from government.

Then there was the massive multi million dollar car park contracted by the UPP for St. Johns. The first problem with this car park if people care to remember is the spot the UPP chose to erect it was a very controversial one.  Some of the long time PLM and UPP supporters were outraged because the area was supposed to be left as a public park. Most cities have "green areas" or parks which remain free from development. This comment was taken from a Caribarena article: "To those of you who wish for the completion of the car park or "monstrosity" as the late ET Henry would say, be reminded that the area had been bequeathed to the People of Antigua as Green Space, never to be fenced, which is now owned by a TNT Corporation." Needless to say the UPP didn't listen to the people and went with the project which has now been sitting half finished for over five years. We will be paying for that EC $40 million dollar mistake for a years and years to come. Hopefully one day the crazy structure will be finished.

Staying in St. Johns we can remember the sidewalk scandal where an Israeli/Antiguan group got a nice deal to fix up sidewalks in St Johns. The cost reported in the media was EC $42 million. I won't go into it anymore than asking you to take a walk around the city. "Where d money gorn?" Pissed down the drain? Well I dunno but it wasn't value for money.

Staying in the city we can talk about the money wasted on the Food City building. Government purchased the ailing supermarket for EC $15 million dollars. Not only was the business crumbling when they purchased it, but the building was in almost as bad a condition. Many people were shocked at the unusual purchase but as the government had no immediate plans for the building, it sat abandoned for years until it was rented by a group that had to completely rennovate the property after doing a proper survey. The survey was done by my neighbor and he says the building had been neglected for years and years and was in very bad shape.

Before 2004 the ALP government decided to build a new hospital. Equipment was purchased and on the verge of the election the hospital was nearly finished. The UPP got into power and threw all ALP ideas out the window as bad ones and decided to stop trying to open the hospital. Instead they had the bright idea of fixing up Holberton which by that time had earned the horrible nickname of "Killberton Hospital". While we accumulated interest on the loans for the almost finished MSJ Hospital, it remained dark while they waited until people forgot it was there. Then almost 5 years after they shut down the project, they finished it farmed out the management of it In February 2009 to the American Hospital Management Company (AHMC). They get 3 million a year to manage it and to do all the purchasing for it. Many complained that this was too much money to be spent on managing it. In fact, even the former health minister of St Lucia, Dr Keith Mondesir was critical of our government's contract. (Source) Needless to say, the hospital isn't being financed properly and even as we speak there is no CT Scan machine working there. It's a terrible shame to hear about all the millions spent and wasted and to know that basics are not available at our only hospital.

More to come in Part 3.

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