Antigua and Barbuda: ABLP launches manifesto 2023, PM Browne promises overall development

Prime Minister Gaston Browne-led Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party launched the manifesto for the January 18, 2023 general elections.

Antigua and Barbuda: ABLP launches manifesto 2023, PM Browne promises overall development
Antigua and Barbuda: ABLP launches manifesto 2023, PM Browne promises overall development

Antigua and Barbuda: Prime Minister Gaston Browne-led Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party launched the manifesto for the January 18, 2023 general elections. The manifesto featured different plans and programmes for the various sector such as youth, sports and employment.

PM Gaston Browne stated that he is committed to people of Antigua and Barbuda and January 18th 2023 general elections will shape our country for the future. It will determine if the economy and standard of living plummet, as they did disastrously under the UPP especially between 2009 and 2014, or they ascend to higher levels.

Read here: Full statement of Prime Minister Gaston Browne

My objective, as leader of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) is to work diligently and passionately to ensure that our country climbs to the next level of progress and prosperity. That is my commitment to all Antiguans and Barbudans, and every person who has chosen to live and work in our country.

Our nation lives amid difficult global times. The latest authoritative report says:

Clobal economic activity is experiencing a broad-based and sharper-than-expected slowdown, with inflation higher than seen in several decades. The cost-of-living crisis, tightening financial conditions in most regions, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the lingering COVID-19 pandemic all weigh heavily on the outlook. Global growth is forecast to slow from 6.0 percent in 2021 to 3.2 percent in 2022 and 2.7 percent in 2023. This is the weakest growth profile since 2001 except for the global financial crisis and the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, these circumstances Impact our country. Yet, we have performed better than many others.

While global growth was 6.0 percent in 2021, we enjoyed greater growth of 743 percent. In 2022, as growth in the world is projected to decline by 3.2 percent, we defled the odds and are forecast, by International financial institutions, to grow by a whopping 8.3 percent. Of all the Caribbean countries, only Guyana, with its newly found wealth In oil and gas, la projected to surpass our performance. Accomplishment and success came from sound management. Our accomplishment came from sound financial planning, preparation, and delivery. Our nation was successfully brought through the ruinous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2021, the lock-downs and border closures and the severe blows to the global economy. Not one worker in the public sector was dismissed; my government ensured that there was at least one breadwinner in every family.

Whereas the pandemic caused our economy to decline by 20.19 percent in 2020, strategic thinking, solid planning and creative actions recovered our economy in 2021 with strong growth of 7.4 percent. Our people went back to work and were earning incomes while, in most parts of the world, businesses remained closed, and populations were shuttered in their homes. Very importantly, planning, foresight, and strategic allocation of scarce resources, safeguarded the health and lives of our people. At mid-December 2022, the death toll from COVID-19 stood at over 6.6 million persons; In Antigua and Barbuda the total number of deaths was 146 or 0.15 percent of our population. Few countries effectively managed the economic and health Impacts of the pandemic as well as we did.

Safeguarding our people’s lives from the most frightening disease the modem world confronted, together with ensuring economic challenges to our survival and growth, were the most awesome combination of tests any government has ever faced. The ABLP government met those tests successfully in the Interest of every person and the entire nation.

Experienced financial management and sound leadership made the crucial difference. Those qualities were needed then, and they are needed now. On the issue of water, while there is Impatience and frustration over Interrupted supply, we have worked hard to resolve the problems, and endurance will shortly be rewarded. No other administration in the history of our country has Invested more in water Infrastructure than the ABLP government of the last 8 years. One hundred and thirty million dollars ($130 million) has been invested in building out Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants throughout the country.

Another plant – already purchased will be installed by the end of March 2023. By then the water issue will be fully resolved. My personal vision of Antigua and Barbuda as an Economic dynamo. My personal vision for our nation is that it should be an economic powerhouse, which drives robust growth and sustainable development to achieve developed country living standards. That is why steering our affairs to the next level of progress and prosperity is my driving ambition. Every Antiguan and Barbudan has a right to a better, more productive, healthy, and happy life.

The ABLP has guided the process by which our country has been uplifted despite arduous circumstances. It has the experience, knowledge, and vision to continue our people’s advancement to new heights. In this Manifesto, we lay out our plans for the “Next Level” of development. They are all achievable with strong, capable, and experienced government.

The Choice that now lies before us: UPP mismanagement again or Next Level progress and prosperity. Presently, we have before us a fork in the road, and a choice of two paths to take. One is a path that was risked before with disastrous consequences, including economic failure, represented by a 25 percent decline in the economy and high unemployment; bank failure which cost taxpayers over $300 million to resolve; fiscal failure that included burdensome debt with over 50 percent in arrears; the Imposition of personal Income tax; late payments of salaries, wages and social security pensions; and expanded poverty.

That was the UPP government with Harold Lovell as the Minister of Finance. The other path is the one that has always taken our nation to higher heights of employment, economic growth, and development; that has attracted investments; Improved health services; expanded education facilities; increased home, car and business ownership; delivered high speed broadband facilities; created opportunities for all; and – most significantly successfully lifted us up as a nation. That is the ABLP government.

My commitment to good governance and accountability The ABLP government, under my stewardship, has been firm on accountability and good governance. It is well-known that, as Prime Minister, while I have assumed every person to be Innocent until proven otherwise, I have not tolerated any credible wrong-doing ascribed to anyone in my Cabinet or government generally. I have removed them from their positions, pending a Court or some other like authority, affirming their innocence.

I also hold myself to a high standard of accountability. That is why I recuse myself from all Cabinet decisions that decide contracts and government procurement. I keep the Office of the Prime Minister above the fray, so that I can validly hold all officers and officials accountable.