You can’t judge a book — or a store — by its cover apparently.
The Northern Ireland government reportedly has created fake storefronts to camouflage bad economic conditions in advance of the visit by President Obama and other world leaders for the annual G8 summit meeting on June 17.
The G8 (Group of Eight) is comprised of the world’s wealthiest countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the US. This year’s annual meeting will be held in County Fermanagh, one of the six counties in Northern Island. UK prime minister David Cameron is hosting this year’s event; next year it is scheduled for Sochi, Russia with President Putin as the host leader.
With regard to this year’s event, authorities have apparently made superficial improvements merely for appearance’s sake rather than address the actual underlying economic conditions in Northern Island: “…local councils have hired workers to paint fake shop fronts stocked with attractive but illusory produce. They have also been contracted to cover derelict buildings with colorful billboards, the better to hide the real economic hardship being felt in towns and villages close to the five star golf resort where G8 leaders will meet this month.”
According to one unemployed man who lives in the area, “The shop fronts are cosmetic surgery for serious wounds. They are looking after the banks instead of saving good businesses.”
Reportedly the luxury hotel where Obama and other G8 leaders will hold their meeting is in bankruptcy.
Northern Ireland reportedly has spent about $1 million to spruce things up in villages in County Fermanagh. According to Alex Attwood, Northern Ireland’s environmental minister, “Northern Ireland is in the international spotlight so it is entirely right that we should portray it in the best light possible. We should do everything we can to make these areas as attractive for residents, tourists and consumers. If we want tourists to visit and stay longer, then tackling major eyesores and dereliction will certainly help.”
Critics have compared this effort to a so-called Potemkin village “named after the fake village created by Russian minister Grigory Potemkin to fool Empress Catherine II about the state of locality during her visit to Crimea in 1787.”
Do you think these international conferences attended by world leaders ever accomplish anything meaningful?