Antigua and Barbuda: ABLP promises next level of development, announces plans in manifesto

Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party announced the programmes and strategies for achieving the next level of development for the entire nation in their manifesto launched for the January 18 general elections. 

Antigua and Barbuda: ABLP promises next level of development, announces plans in manifesto
Antigua and Barbuda: ABLP promises next level of development, announces plans in manifesto

Antigua and Barbuda: Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party announced the programmes and strategies for achieving the next level of development for the entire nation in their manifesto launched for the January 18 general elections. 

The ABLP has set the ambition to improve the quality of life for all Antiguans and Barbudans now and in the future by taking the nation’s development to the next level of progress and prosperity.

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To achieve this, a new ABLP government will implement programmes and policies that promote resilience, Inclusive and broad-based economic development.

AVERAGE 6% GROWTH OVER THE NEXT 5 YEARS

The overall objective is to attain and sustain GDP growth over the next 5 years of at least 6%, which is inclusive, generates jobs, and reduces vulnerability and poverty.

Five strategic objectives will be pursued as follows:

  • Strengthen the macro-fiscal foundation for economic diversification, growth, job creation and a more resilient business environment.
  • Continue to invest in the socio-economic infrastructure (especially in Education and Health), by promoting digital innovation stems.
  • Improve social protection services, gender, and youth empowerment to alleviate poverty and reduce vulnerabilities.
  • Further expand the subjects of study leading to a degree at UWI Five Islands Campus. Provide more scholarships for higher education.
  • Enlarge facilities for vocational skill training and provide certification for the skills learned.
  • Adapt for climate change- Invest in climate resilient Infrastructure (ICT, Utilities, Roads, etc.) and promote environmental sustainability. 

DIGITIZATION AND DIGITALIZATION

As part of the leap to Next Level development, the ABLP government will:

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  • promote digital Innovation by improving the provision (i.e., access at affordable prices) of high-speed Internet; increased networking within the health sector; widespread use of technology within the classroom; and digitization of more government services to increase efficient public access and use.
  • accelerate the process of digitization of government ministries, departments, and statutory bodies to maintain records in a digital form. and to allow the public to complete forms, applications, pay bills and secure receipts via the Internet. This will avoid people having to travel to government offices, enduring long models and provide new revenue waiting time. Records can also be tracked online and downloaded as needed. 

DIGITIZATION TO PERMIT NATION TO MONITOR GOOD GOVERNANCE AND PROCUREMENT

An extremely important factor in the digitization of Government records and activities is to give every person in Antigua and Barbuda access to all government revenues and expenditure, including procurement and the award of contracts.

The objective of Next Level digitization is for any person to access government transactions for good governance and accountability. Every person must have access to transactions that give detail of every line item of government income and every line item of expenditure. We monitor performance.

We recognize that it will take time to construct the digital platforms for full accountability of all government offices, but each phase will provide more information until the platform for accessibility is fully built out.

PROVIDING GREATER SOCIAL PROTECTION

The ABLP recognizes that greater social protection is required to ensure that advantage is not taken of the poor and vulnerable and that obligations to workers are satisfied by the public and private sectors. In this regard, the ABLP government will:

  • Adopt legislation to increase the retirement age in both the public and private sectors to the age at which Social Security Pensions are payable. Thus, the present gap between retirement and payment of Social Security pensions will be closed. 
  • Fully Implement the terms of the Social Protection Act of 2020. Undertake an enhanced Country Poverty Assessment Survey. Develop and implement adaptive social protection strategies to respond to economic or health shocks that are externally generated or are the result of natural disasters.

RESPONDING TO CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Recognizing that Climate Change and its impacts are real, and that small island states must do their utmost to mitigate harmful effects, the ABLP government will:
  • Reduce our country’s carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2030 and will become carbon neutral by 2040.
  • Update the Building Code and enact measures that promote the adoption of renewable energy and backup storage systems for new homes.
  • Expand financial incentives to promote the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficient practices and technologies across leading sectors.
  • Continue to promote gender equality such that neither gender is left behind.
  • Develop more second chance programs to capture persons who fall through the social safety.net.
  • Promote climate-proof homes in Antigua and Barbuda to withstand category 5 hurricanes.
  • Invest in climate-proofing other critical infrastructure such as clinics, hospitals, and schools, so that they can continue to operate fully during and after a hurricane, severe rainfall events, and during severe drought and excessive heat conditions.
  • At the same time, the ABLP will continue its leadership role in advocating for climate justice, including compensation for loss and damage, as well as for limitations on the greenhouse gas emissions of major polluting countries that cause Climate Change.