Political vultures

Just when I thought it would be a quiet Sunday, a local media outlet character assassinated the minister of integrity, Raiz. The story went the following: He spent time at a rum shop, with a friend, a former AVP candidate, whom he recently endorsed or recommended to the position of managing director at a semi-governmental entity. The outlet reported he was drunk, and got into his car, to drive away, making the car a potential murder weapon.

The outlet also put together a rough string of sound bites, contrasting what the minister does with what the minister says. The optics were ugly.

Clearly, the people at the top of the outlet were out to crucify the minister for driving under the influence, in a government-issued car.

My first reaction was to say, the fact that he sat down for a drink with a friend, doesn’t make him drunk. They blew an incident up. But the pictures attached to the story, showed a casual, sassy minister; he put down his guard and found himself in a kerfuffle.

I checked online for the public’s comments and reactions, most of them did not care, apparently, getting into a car with a beer in one hand is not a punishable offense here, during Carnival season. Let the man live, they said, he has the right for a private life, you all do it too.

(After the Children’s Carnival, the Police spot-checked 120 vehicles, arresting five drivers for driving under the influence, four were inebriated to the extent that they lost their drivers’ license.)

The minister’s story did not rock the world, it might have even backfired, in a sense that islanders are immune to outrage involving beer and are accustomed to negative press.

La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino was victim last week of negative press, with false accusations of construction on the beach. The bobcat was evening out the volleyball court, yet it pushed a hot button.

I asked some well-informed friends what they thought about the hoopla:

  1. How silly can you be? I mean everybody does this, ok, not everybody, but many. However, integrity starts by giving a good example, on a personal level. This was a huge risk, getting behind the steering under the influence.
  2. They exposed him to try and break the coalition. Let’s see where it goes, the minister has an impossible job between political vultures.
  3. Early elections are coming. This is an attempt to take down the government. Now they have an issue. And his drinking buddy, an employee of Fundacion Parke Nacional Arikok might suffer some collateral damage, hopefully not.
  4. The gentlemen working for the outlet, were paid handsomely, it is obvious they followed and stalked the minister for hours, to get some compromising pictures.
  5. The minister refused to collaborate with many law benders, in the UTV/ATV universe, at Embassy Suites, at Secrets in St Nicolaas, these types of determined folks might have paid to hurt him??
  6. An increased number of young voters were impressed with the minister’s work at both leading parties who resented the leeching, sponging of supporters. They had to cut him down to size.
  7. The recently resuscitated, trying a political comeback, former minister of tourism and infrastructure, is behind it. He runs with the outlet crew, which is generously supported by his sponsors.
  8. The hard-working, well-intentioned minister is a big liability to many, at both ends of the political spectrum.
  9. I would like to know if a car provided to the minister is for work only, or, just like the private sector, the benefit is taxable and thus the driver can use his car privately, because he is being taxed on it. Is that the case with government cars, or are the vehicles leased?? It’s time to change. Let them drive their own car and get a gasoline allowance.
  10. If indeed he was driving and drinking, we should apply the law, firm and fair.
  11. The local outlet is an ambulance chaser and feasts on likes and shares.
  12. The minister recently picked a fight with that outlet, by challenging their narrative, it never pays.
  13. This is a protection racket, either pay or be punished with relentless attacks, of all sorts. They have been at it since day one, they know by now, says the minister, that I will not pay extortionists, so the attacks will be increasing.

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January 29, 2024
Rona Coster