( Real News Antigua ) MP Richard Lewis says that Antigua and Barbuda’s economy is in
shambles, with numerous problems and issues plaguing the country
and its respective communities.
Lewis, who represents the Rural West constituency, says that Prime
Minister Gaston Browne and the Antigua Labour Party have ruined
the economy with their many bad decisions. These have caused the
inequality in income and the wealth-distribution gap to widen, the
Lewis recalls that, early in the first term of the ALP Administration,
Browne told the people that he would seriously address the issue of
wealth inequality to ensure that this gap is narrowed.
However,10 years later, instead of equality in wealth, the poor have
gotten poorer while the rich have gotten only richer, making the gap
significantly wider, the MP states.
Lewis also points to the country’s crumbling infrastructure – in spite
of the Government having received millions and millions from the
Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).
He compares Antigua and Barbuda with the smaller nation of St.
Kitts & Nevis and notes how that government has been able to use
CIP income to develop the islands for the upliftment of its people.
In the meantime, the United Progressive Party MP says, here at
home, the various communities’ roads are in a deplorable condition,
and the unbearable spike in the cost of living continues. As proof, he
cites the astonishing rise in the prices of simple grocery items,
With the cost of bread having gone up by almost 10 percent in
recent weeks, he says, this is a clear demonstration that the
country’s economy is not functioning in the way it should.
Lewis says that the cost for food, healthcare, rent, child care,
utilities, and transportation is out of control, and the ALP
Administration has done very little to bring relief to the people.
Further, he recalls the promises made by the ALP leading up to the
January 18 General Election, including the assurance that public
servants would receive a raise in pay. The Administration even
“sweetened the pot” by giving them an extra salary payment in
December last year, he says.
However, the election came and went and the promise of a salary
hike is yet to be fulfilled. Not even the back pay due to public
servants has been honoured, Lewis says, and he brands the Browne
Administration as wicked and cruel.
Meanwhile, Lewis says, the unemployment rate is skyrocketing, with
thousands without jobs – including the youth who have left school
and now have nothing to do.
He says the Government has a responsibility to create an enabling
environment where jobs can be created and young people, in
particular, can be put to work.
Instead, Lewis says, the Browne Administration has failed to create
opportunities and new school-leavers are on the breadline looking
for something meaningful to do.
Finally, the Rural West MP says the country’s crime rate is out of
control, and residents are asking what is the ALP Government’s plan
to curb it.