Goverment Failure & Power

First Published: 2005-05-07

A Real Life Comedy Show is playing at Cat Cay and the principal actors are developer Manuel Diaz and Government Minister Leslie Miller.

The latest Cat Cay drama over a Liquid Natural Gas plant (LNG) on nearby Ocean Cay has become the stuff of theatre as it is played out in shouting matches and accusations, innuendo and denial.

Act I sets the scene for the smouldering controversy over a site for an LNG plant on Ocean Cay that the developer (Diaz) believes will negatively affect his investment. Threats of Revenge and Retribution fly back and forth between Minister Miller and Diaz heightening Dramatic Tension that only breaks when both apologize for their uncontrolled outbursts.

Act II and the plot thickens when Government Minister Miller discovers taxes of $1.6 million dollars are outstanding and some custom's duties are unpaid by Diaz and others. However, his triumph is short lived when he belatedly awakens to the fact that he has exposed his own failure and that of his Ministry to apply the laws equally and impartially.

Act III has yet to be performed. The final act will reveal whether the play is a tragedy or a comedy with a happy ending. Will impartial justice prevail or will it conclude with victimization and misuse of political power.

On a serious note, this allegorical "spoof" draws attention to the protagonist/antagonist characteristic of theatre and drama as it plays out in the every day issues surrounding property rights, the environment, foreign investment, crime, the courts and so forth.

In its purest sense, government is the institution established to determine and administer rules of social behaviour – or to administer justice under the law. However in the daily drama we are seeing more and more government Authority used to carry out economic and social welfare activities for which it is not suited.

Property Rights – and the use of those rights underlie the LNG conundrum. The more the authority of government is used to favour one group over another for non-governmental purposes, the more the authentic role of government is weakened, as the coercive power of government becomes the prize to be won. Impartiality and civil justice is lost. The play ends as tragedy.

The daily drama makes clowns of the players, but laughter in the audience masks genuine concern over an out of control government Minister that has failed to collect property taxes and then chooses to use the power of his office to victimize in an effort to save face.

We await the final Act.

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