Yet again, another incident has left us to wonder if the right hand and the left in the UPP administration are functioning on the self same body, and if so, why is it that they each do not know what the other is doing.
Last week, this was brought home most forcefully when the electricity supply to a number of sporting complexes was disconnected, leaving patrons in the dark literally.
It was left to a member of the public to alert the rest of us. The story, after it hit the airwaves, could have been described as a comedy of errors if it were funny.
As it turned out, the minister who is responsible for the facilities was not even aware that the action was being contemplated, never mind being done. We were provided with a letter in which he outlined that the call had been made by him for the authorities to put a system in place to monitor and control the use of electricity at the complexes.
Following the contretemps, the necessary mechanisms were put in place, such that people have come forward to accept responsibility for the facilities and a functioning committee is now in place to oversee such.
The question is: why was this not done from the start? Why is it one arm of government called the Sports Department was not informed of the action of the Antigua Public Utilities beforehand? And why was there not a committee in place to ensure that the complexes were managed as far as the use of electricity is concerned?
From our knowledge, the minister responsible for public utilities sits in the same Cabinet as the minister responsible for sports. Was there a discussion at that forum about the pending move and what was the outcome? Are egos so strong that good sense could not have prevailed?
We are aware that concerns have been raised about the wastage of electrical power at these fields. But surely the answer could not be to turn off the power. Someone must know that these complexes serve as outlets for our youth, a place to go to work off youthful vigour. As one observer puts it, if we are asking our young people to engage in wholesome activity how could we in all good conscience not give them opportunities to do so?
It could well have been a coincidence, but on more than one occasion APUA has left government holding the proverbial bag of embarrassment.
In another incident, again in response to public outcry, government was forced to deploy a member of staff at the Public Works Department to liaise with APUA to stem the number of incidents of APUA digging up the roads as soon as Public Works had repaired them. Needless to say, the practice continues. Another case in point of the left working at cross – purposes with the right.
This past week we were amazed when a minister of government went by night to remove a fence placed by a developer to restrict access to a beach.
The developer claimed it was to keep out people who were mining sand illegally. Whatever the truth, an agreement in principle had been reached with the DCA, the body responsible for beach access. So when the minister decided to lead a posse to remove the fence unbeknownst to the regulatory body the action could only be deemed as embarrassing — the left and the right each going their separate ways.
The list of faux pas from one government department to the next could well be inexhaustible. We recall the ship carrying the fibre optic cable, a few years ago, having to dump its contents on the beach as APUA refused to allow the use of its facilities to conduct a government-endorsed programme.
It may well turn out that the current Chinese Power Plant imbroglio might have overtones of one department of government not privy to the workings of another and thus the details are lost in the shuffle.
In government, like in many other areas, there is such a thing as functionalcohesion, the act or process of sticking together tightly; the action or fact of forming a united whole.
Our government departments would do well to familiarise themselves with the concept.