Letters — 06 October 2018
Andy Jones cries out from Peini …

Dear Editor,

I wonder if you would find it worthy to print this letter. It’s quite late at night as I write this, but I am thinking back on the many articles that Amandala has printed giving the common man on the streets a voice to the world, which has convinced me to go ahead and write this letter.

It is only because of the Amandala’s generosity to the people that I write and ask your assistance in helping me show my displeasure towards the Punta Gorda Town Mayor, his administrator and some of his councillors. I have been trying unsuccessfully to acquire a trade license to open a small café in town. It seems that the location of my café might interfere with some of his councillor’s clients, and in so doing, they are trying to stall or possibly deny my license.

There are also rumours that they are going as far as to say that the market is flooded with too many restaurants already, as a means of denying me a license. It seems strange that these same people who have been elected to help the people seem to be doing just the opposite. Instead of encouraging new businesses, they are willing to prevent one from opening so as to protect one of their own.

I wonder if these people who have their nice little salary coming in monthly can imagine how hard it is out here for the common man to get enough for just their basic food to feed their families. I can’t imagine they don’t know hard times are all around us, as they recently laid off quite a few of their own staff.

A few years ago I never heard of BOOST or PANTRY, as money and jobs were plentiful, but not anymore, as those times are past. Now how much harder is it for someone like myself with five children to feed and no steady income? I have been hunting and fishing daily now for over a month, and my catch has been very scarce, to the point where I took my last amount of savings to go to the cays to dive and fish, only to realize after three days that the gas was running out and I still didn’t have enough products to even cover my expenses.

It pushes a man to look for the nicest, bluest patch of sea where you know from experience it’s deep. You drive directly over it, forgetting that eerie feeling that a person gets from looking down into the cloudy dark water not knowing what’s below. You dive in going deeper and deeper until your air gives out. You then just slowly float back towards the top, as you know you’re too far down to actually make it back up for air, so you just relax, awaiting the inevitable.

And as you float, you see your children and how they look up to you even as you explain to them you’re not much compared to other men. They only imagine you’re telling them another great story. Then you picture your wife and her ready smile, willing to encourage you even after so many failures. No bad words after jaguars decimate seven years of hard work raising sheep. No murmuring when all the investments in fishing gear don’t bring in the expected catch, or even an “I told you so” when most of our 100 lobster pots are stolen.

No, only encouragement when you come home empty-handed from your recent hunt. Your adrenaline suddenly kicks in and you somehow make it back to the top to drag yourself back into your boat to try yet something else to try and feed your family. But now only to be blocked by people put into power to help you, but instead want to destroy you.

How do they expect a man to feel when they stall in giving you a simple trade license for a small 18 by 18 foot structure on Crown land, which I someday hope to own?  I then take it upon myself while awaiting my trade license to try and sell honey gathered from my dangerous African bees, only to be threatened by the administrator that if we don’t stop selling, he will call the police on us.

He blindly turns his eyes from the drug dealers who no one dares ask to pay a license, but he’s ready to call in police for selling honey to feed your family.

The Mayor doesn’t consider that by him mocking you by saying that he’s sorry for messing up “your little café dream,” he is in essence destroying a man and his vision to better himself. This is pure hatred, Mr Mayor, but you’re the big man now, at least for a short time more, so you and the administrator clap your hands to whatever beat you want me to dance, and yes, I’ll dance, but when the dancing is done, don’t punk me: just give me my license so I can try and feed my family.

And to your councillor who told me I would look stupid going to the Amandala, well, I guess desperate people do stupid things. After all, we at the bottom only have God, our dreams and Amandala to back us up.

Andy Jones
Punta Gorda Town

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Deshawn Swasey

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