Antigua opposition strongly disagrees with extension of state of emergency

Opposition Leader Jamal Pringle

DAILY OBSERVER: A resolution to further extend the State of Emergency until 28th June, 2021 passed in Parliament on Thursday but not without fierce objection from the two opposition members, who argued that there was no genuine justification to further extend the State of Emergency when an alternate route was available.

Antigua and Barbuda has been under a public state of emergency for just about one year, with the government insisting it is the best way to institute the kind of measures needed to curb the spread of Covid-19.

However, on Thursday, Leader of the Opposition, Jamale Pringle and Barbuda MP Trevor Walker both opposed the extension, arguing that enforcing the Public Health Act (Dangerous Infectious Disease) would be just as effective as a state of emergency.

Pringle said he would not support any state of emergency for another three months.

“What I will support, Mr Speaker, is the protocols put in place by the Ministry of Health, according to the Public Health Act,” he declared.

Pringle said that the Public Health Act could facilitate curfew and other measures needed to manage the spread of Covid without the enactment of the State of Emergency.

Walker also supported the protocols argument but added that he did not support “the mechanisms used to enforce these protocols”, reiterating that a state of emergency is too restrictive.

“What I’m not supporting is that under the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda that has entrenched rights, individuals’ rights, that you’re gonna have this cloud hanging over our rights just to enforce a curfew and some other things. That can be done, under Section 8 [of the Constitution], under the Public Health Act,” he argued.

Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin, in his interpretation of the Constitution, explained “what that law says is that if there is any law passed that is designed to protect public health, it cannot be inconsistent with the freedom of movement”.

He noted that the Public Health Act was only applicable under a state of emergency.

“It has to be declared a state of emergency for things to follow,” he stressed.

In his contribution, Prime Minister Gaston Browne stated that “the state of emergency in itself does not create a problem for anyone; the state of emergency in itself does not curtail the hours to socialise; it is a curfew that actually curtails those hours”.

He made the statement in an attempt to sway the opposition to not once more frivolously oppose the measure which had gone before Parliament concurrently four times prior.

Meanwhile, the prime minister said that the government is hoping to shorten the curfew hours after the Easter holidays from, 11 pm to 5 am.

Ultimately, nine government MPs voted to extend the state of emergency while the two opposition MPs voted against it.

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  1. This Guy opposes EVERYTHING. I am sure He will oppose His own name. Jamale ..Harold Lovell and Gisel Isaac Puppet. What a Shame.

  2. We need An Opposition Leader in Antigua. Please ( ALL SAINTS EAST and ST.LUKES.)..DO NOT ELECT JAMALE PRINGLE AGAIN.He is NOT learning.

  3. State of Emergency alot of people are struggling , what measures are put in place to the for the people who are displaced, it is very hypocritical to have a state of emergency and people are still coming here

  4. @ WAKE UP
    Try to make sense. A State of Emergency is for the CURFEW. The Government is trying to stop the COVID-19 spread. Hope you get that through you thick Skull.

    • CARSON B. have you gone through the Public Health Act and the Constitution to see if you can have a curfew under the Act outside of state of emergency? For you information CARSON the Constitution provides for the taking of any measures under the Public Health Act to deal with the existence of dangerous infectious disease once it would be reasonably justifiable to do. Now a question for you. Would you say that the curfew was reasonably justifiable (ie the restrictions on movement and assembly) to combat the covid pandemic? If your answer is yes, then that is the justification that the Constitution provides for the implementation of a curfew under the Public Health Act.

  5. @ carson b. Browne
    Ok gullible continue believing them because you have family in parliament keep your skull thin and accept everything your family say

  6. You do not need a State of Emergency to impose a Curfew.You do not.That State of Emergency is being enforced for a particular purpose.To keep us the people under his feet.He would be walking on us and wipe his feet on us.That little Marshal Tito.

  7. The Hon. J. Pringle is to be commended for speaking his mind, even if many of us don’t agree with him. He is THE LEADER of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Lovell is NOT. Let Pringle do his thing. He is lawfully elected. Lovell is NOT. These things are beyond his expertise. That’s why the voters sent him packing. Let Pringle speak, and show him some respect for doing so…again, even if we disagree with him. He is the UPP man in Parliament.

      • But for real though, is it still MASKSES??? Repeat after me: “PER CA-PEE-TAH”

        A “Research Officer” gets money from the Treasury each month to help Pringle, but his performance continues to worsen

  8. Politic make sane and rational thinkers to become insane and irrational thinkers. I am sure if the UPP was governing. These blind followers will be singing a different tune. These people are incredibly dishonest.

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