Somebody please tell me this is a joke? Over the years we have seen sensible investors such as the Rockefellers, Dr. Henry Jarecki and Sir Richard Branson. But many carpetbaggers and charlatans have thought they could make easy money out of these islands, and indeed other small countries.
Of course, we started with Bates and Anegada, back around 1970. Then in my memory we had a religious outfit that wanted to put a high-powered religious radio station here. Fortunately, Cable & Wireless was in charge of communications in those days, and gave them short shift. I am not sure that our government of the day might not have been taken in. Then we had Alan Stanford arriving here with lavish pomp and circumstance, trying to impress us enough to let him base his businesses here. Fortunately, then-Premier Ralph O’Neal was not taken in, and I had cried, “Beware carpetbaggers!” in the press, so Mr. Stanford decamped to Antigua, and we all know what came to pass.
Pity about his airlines though: They really gave LIAT a run for its money while they lasted. Speaking of LIAT, there was of course the ill-fated takeover by Court Line from the United Kingdom with their pastel-coloured BAC111s. That failed and nearly broke LIAT, shades of what is happening to the airline now. As a consequence of Court Line’s failure, a small company that was making flight simulators for them went bankrupt, and that put an end to the prototype jet skis (well before their time) which Jim Turner was testing to destruction here.
Then we had the debacle of the green houses, courtesy of the late government minister Omar Hodge, rest in peace. So much money wasted.
So back to my question. The internet has been flooded with repeats of a press release put out by a company called Lifelabs.io saying that our premier announced the forming of a partnership with them for the purpose of providing “rapid cash response” in the event of an emergency. It also provides an alternative digital currency payment method for facilitating ongoing financial transactions across the network of islands. Can the premier explain to us what blockchain technology is? He is apparently a “thought leader” in this fast-emerging “space,” according to government’s press release. Put simply, I think this is a Bitcoin type of operation. Perish the thought that our government should get involved in this business. Even worse would be if they encouraged residents to join in.
Somewhere along the way you have to put up hard cash to start “trading.” What businesses will one find to trade with?
Useful in an emergency? It’s digital! In our emergency there was no internet, so how would we get emergency “cash” and who would accept it? That simple fact blows the whole idea out of the water, doesn’t it?
The rest of the article, as reprinted in our local papers, is full of gobbledygook or newspeak, and I urge our government, and anyone thinking of signing up, to run for the hills. Please don’t let this become another BVI Airways fiasco.
Government has promised that consultant Claude Skelton-Cline will be planning a programme designed to provide 1,000 jobs in 1,000 days. One thousand jobs? Speaker of the House of Assembly: one. Mr. Skelton-Cline: two. Litter wardens: perhaps 12? Bodyguards for the premier: Two. Only 983 to go!