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Sadly, we have achieved well-deserved last place

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I went on a three-day business trip to the sisterly country, the Kingdom of Bahrain. During my trip, I was amazed by the progress I witnessed there in all aspects such as the loose-gravel-free and pothole-free roads, the top class huge hotels, the commercial markets and complexes, and the corporate offices. I then couldn’t help but compare the situation there with Kuwait and feel sorry for our situation.

It is enough to go to its new airport, as the old airport was closed. Your heart will rejoice over the duty-free shops, spacious VIP lounges, and all other facilities, as well as respect, that can come to one’s mind.

It shocked me a lot to know that the people of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia lament our conditions. I met several personalities among them, and they expressed their astonishment at our delay in all fields, from sports to tourism, as well as the increase in corruption and the poor infrastructure.

One of them said to me, “What a pity! Kuwait used to be the Pearl of the Gulf” .

Our conditions deteriorated because of parachute appointments in sensitive centers that should have been run by the private sector, such as the Touristic Enterprises Company, which achieves losses worth millions, the Communications Authority, which watches our multiple failures in the field of telecommunication, the Kuwait Airways, the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and its companies, which spent millions without any intelligence, the Public Authority for Roads and Land Transportation, and other bodies and institutions in which the rational government did not appoint the right man in the right place.

These bodies and institutions must be privatized as soon as possible, as the work in them was more than wonderful when the private sector was managing some of them. They started failing after the rational government handed them over to leaders who were dripping with failure and were only professionals in filling their own pockets.

The tour of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the Arabian Gulf states including Kuwait has brought back hope to us about the revival of Kuwait, if the wish of Prince Mohammad bin Salman for the integration of the Arabian Gulf states into a single federal unit such as the European Union is achieved within five years.

What was achieved by the older sisterly country in terms of combating corruption and opening up the civilization is amazing by all standards. We were in such a situation in the 1960s and 1970s until our wise governments handed over the reins of our affairs to fundamentalists who took control of the affairs of this country.

Their control resulted in our delay in the educational, cultural, artistic and anti-corruption fields. They are the ones who planted corruption in the name of religion. It is important to stress that religion is innocent of their corruption.

We dream of seeing in Kuwait what we see in its older sister where artistic, cultural and sports festivals are being held, and its cities such as Riyadh and Jeddah are now competing with Paris, London, Beirut and Cairo.

As for the people of extremism in Saudi Arabia, cats have swallowed their tongues and they have started walking next to walls … that is to say, their time has ended.

ali-albaghli@hotmail.com

By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

Former Minister of Oil