Browne Criticizes UPP’s Decision To Not Take Part In The Economic Recovery Committee

Prime Minister Gaston Browne

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has commented on the recent announcement from the United Progressive Party (UPP) where the Leader of the Opposition, Jamale Pringle, stated that he will not be participating in the Economic Recovery Committee (ERC).

He described their decision as a “dereliction of duty” and said that the UPP is allowing their personal egos to undermine any semblance of loyalty that they may have to their nation.

Last week, the government announced that it will set up an Economic Recovery Committee (ERC) to look into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s finances and plan the way forward.

The committee will be chaired by Browne, and is expected to draw upon the expertise of persons outside the Cabinet.

It was noted that seven sub-committees, each chaired by a Minister of Government, will be set up and include representatives from a variety of institutions.

These include the Chamber of Commerce; the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union; The Employers Federation; the Antigua Christian Council; the Antigua & Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association; the Bankers Association; and the Leader of the Opposition.

The first meeting of the committee is expected to be convened virtually today Monday, April 27 at 3pm.

In a release issued on April 26, Pringle highlighted that “Since the Prime Minister is also the Chairman of the Committee on which he has belatedly invited MP Pringle to serve, there can be no expectation of respect, honesty or good faith on his part,” as one of the reasons for not participating.

He added that “the institution he represents has not been accorded the respect shown to the six organizations named to the ERC, and that he will not allow himself to be used to discredit the UPP “.

The party also was protested that Pringle was the only person identified by name as part of the ERC.

But in response, PM Browne said the opposition leader, in his capacity as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, a constitutional position, made it inevitable that he be appointed.

“The ERC is the steering committee for the recovery efforts that we wish to undertake. Therefore, Pringle sits on that committee in his capacity as the duly elected Leader of the Opposition in the House. That does not bar the UPP leader, Harold Lovell, from serving on
any of the sub-committees that will submit reports to the steering committee,” says Browne.

The UPP is calling on the public to give feedback and share their ideas on Wednesday, April 29, as Pringle speaks on the decisions he has made and how the UPP will proceed.

His presentation will be made via social media.



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  1. On this news portal I usually share my views from a legal perspective. I wish to state that the Prime Minister’s view that it was inevitable that the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition Jamale Pringle be invited as a member of the Economic Recovery Committee (ERC) by virtue of his constitutional position is incorrect and also without any legal or constitutional basis. If the Prime Minister wants Pringle to be a part of the ERC, that is fine and nothing is wrong with that. However, to ground the invitation to some kind of constitutional basis is wrong. The Bahamas also established an ERC comprised of a 15 member steering committee drawn from people from the public and private sectors and the Leader of the Opposition is not included.

    • Moreover, Gaston is just using the ERC as a smoke screen.
      .. a reset to cover for the fact that he has done almost nothing since the last multi-partisan meeting.
      UPP already presented comprehensive recommendations and Lying Gaston said they were all already under consideration and in the pipeline.
      That was since 18th March. Where is all the promised relief and stimulus?
      Now that he bluffed the people once, why should the UPP rep go to another Gaston-summoned joke session.

      From Harold Lovell’s Facebook:

      Many have raised questions about how the UPP would have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below for your review are just some of our proposals that were presented to the ABLP administration at a multi-stakeholder meeting held on March 18th.
      At the time, PM Browne indicated that the vast majority of these proposals were “already under consideration.”

      To date, the UPP has not been officially invited to be a part of the Economic Recovery Committee meeting slated for April 27th. Although the Leader of the Opposition Hon Jamale Pringle finds it highly disrespectful, he has committed to channeling his efforts into promoting the Party’s proposals for economic recovery directly to the People.

      The UPP is mindful of the need for collaborative planning to deal with the economic ravages of COVID-19. We will continue to offer support, while critically assessing the Government in its management of this crisis.


      Economic Measures

      1. Temporary ABST relief on goods and services essential for COVID- 19 Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), defense and mitigation, which are not currently ABST exempt.

      2. Enforce price control on goods and services essential for COVID- 19 Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), defense and mitigation, which are not currently subject to price control.

      3. Delay the implementation of planned new taxes and increased tax collection regimes in the 2020 budget, especially those that will impact the spending power of individuals and businesses.

      4. Expand the Peoples Benefit Programme to cover persons outside the social safety net, whose economic state seriously compromises their ability to practice Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures.

      5. Introduce a programme of unemployment relief to assist those persons impacted by a COVID-19 stimulated downturn in business

      6. Encourage banks and other financial institutions to adopt a proactive approach with respect to payments of loans, mortgages and credit cards bills, based on circumstances within their client portfolios, through Call or Contact Programmes.

      7. Design and implement tax concession packages and grant relief or deferral on particular taxes, for local businesses.

      8. Roll back of work permit and renewal fees to ease financial pressure on employees and employers alike.

      9. Remove ABST from telecommunications services to incentivise and motivate “precautionary self-isolation” to reduce community transmission risks.

      10. Suspend all utility disconnections by APUA for unemployed persons.

      11. Provide an emergency credit guarantee programme with local financial institutions to support local businesses.

      12. Encourage a flexible vacation leave regime among public and private sector employers.

      13. Relax agriculture land rent collections to incentivize food production.

      14. Facilitate agriculture input suppliers to import and maintain adequate supplies in advance of cessation of ship arrivals.

      Social Measures

      1. Immediate evaluation of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) practices at elder care facilities and implementation of strict Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guidelines, provided to all through customized educational campaigns.

      2. Mandatory enforcement of health & safety and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) practices for all sanitation and janitorial workers in public and private sectors. Evaluate the knowledge levels and ensure implementation through customized educational campaigns.

      3. Provide Daily updates at a designated time on local aspects of COVID-19 and the latest available information and advice from WHO, PAHO and CARPHA.

      4. Encourage public and private sector employers to exercise flexible vacation leave regimes to facilitate any required COVID-19 social distancing.

      National Response Mechanism

      1. Implement a COVID-19 Training Workshop for Media Workers immediately, aimed at improving COVID-19 Media Coverage, to reduce mis-information and dis-information.

      2. Develop and make public a COVID-19 National Response Budget and Work Programme detailing the national implementation actions and the budget allocations.

      3. Prepare a cross sectoral inventory of personnel and skills available to combat the Community transmission of COVID-19 and co-opt non-Public Sector medical and clinical personnel, and technically trained persons in allied or related areas to be part of the National Emergency Response Team. Recruit and utilize local personnel. NB. The COVID-19 defense and mitigation response cannot be managed by Public Service employees only. The process requires more personnel.

      4. Develop a detailed, functional and comprehensive Port Screening and Arriving Passenger Handling Protocol and Procedure, and implement it with adequate staffing. The protocol should include a comprehensive questionnaire, with trained scrutineers posted to all ports at all arrival times.

      5. Implement immediately rigorous screening for all arriving passengers into Antigua and Barbuda. Every traveler must provide proof of being thoroughly screened or negative tested, dependent on travel history, or work or lifestyle exposure risk. Outline how un-screened persons will be handled, etc. such as immediate denial of entry or quarantine only or quarantine and isolation.

      6. Advise the Governments of UK, USA, Canada and other major visitor source markets, airline companies and ports of departure of the pre-departure screening requirements for travelers to Antigua and Barbuda.

      7. Establish the various demographic subgroupings in the country, e.g. youth, elderly, shut-in, etc. and develop discrete public education programmes, not only public awareness for these various groupings.

      8. Scrutinize the cleanliness of potable water trucks. Some trucks use Country Pond for pavement cleaning, etc. Such trucks should not be allowed to carry potable water unless subjected to scrupulous sanitizing and disinfections by CBH personnel.

      9. Daily disinfection of the city streets, pavements, drains, gutters, and its widest suburban environs must be implemented immediately.

      10. Public health institutions such as MSJMC and Community clinics must be equipped with water, soap, paper towel, hand washing stations, gloves, masks, toilet paper, etc. such that staff and clients can practice the highest standards of IPC at all times.

  2. In fact, no politicians are included in the ERC of the Bahamas. The Co -Chairs of the ERC is the Acting Financial Secretary and businessman Ken Kerr CEO of Providence Advisors. The point I wish to be understood is that the Prime Minister’s claim that the inclusion of the Hon. Jamale Pringle Leader of the Opposition on the Economic Recovery Committee was constitutionally required. That is not so.

    • If I were you I’d would stick to my day job of being lawyer because politics aint going to work out for you. People like you, Jamal Pringle and the UPP put party over country.

  3. ……………. I keep telling you apologists and propagandists for the government to deal with the message. Is my comment that the Prime Mister is incorrect when he links the invitation to Jamale Pringle as Leader of the Opposition to be a member of the Economic Recovery Committee to some constitutional basis wrong. We have young students reading these comments on the Antigua News Room and we should be educating them on the law and the Constitution. You guys just keep bashing the messenger and refusing to bring arguments against the message. Please, let us make this a forum for constructive and educational discourse. That is what I need to see here on Antigua News Room. Please, note that anytime I see something said here that is legally or constitutionally incorrect, whether it is said by the Prime Minister or any one else, I will challenge it. That is my right of freedom of speech under our Constitution. Go now and address my comment with a more sensible response and do not address the messenger. Counter the message PLEASE that is MY HUMBLE PLEA.

    • Oh just hush Tabor. I would advise no student to listen to a pumpus aggront man like you. I have seen you get dragged all over this blog because you have made asine statements off of hearsay. I don’t know what kind of lawyer you suppose be because if you are defending a person in a court of law me sure them done gone jail.
      FYI I don’t support ALP but we are in the middle of a life and death health crisis. Now is not the time for playing politics. 2023 there for that if God spears our unworthy life. Now why don’t you go find the human in you and contribute and help steer us out of this crisis.

  4. @TABOR
    You are the most inept LAWYER in Antigua. Always giving bad advice. The Prime Minister always follow the constitution . If the UPP have all the answers and do everything correct why the You Guys are in Opposition. I heard Harold Lovell this afternoon on Dave Lester Payne show. I have never heard such LIES in my entire life. You and the UPP should bury your head in the sand.You , Damani and UPP are a bunch of LIARS. You like to talk about CONSTITUTION and You are always INCORRECT. UPP opposition forever.

  5. Gaston Browne,Prime Minister of Antigua not Barbuda.Where is it written in the Constitution.That if you decided to form a recovery committee.The Leader of the Opposition must participate.Could you tell me the section.Are you reading the Constitution of the Antigua Labor Party?Are you confused?Why you did not consult your Constitutional Advisor and Attorney General,Cutie Benjamin. LOL

  6. …………. and Rupert Mann you guys should stop behaving like stubborn kids. Again, I beseech you that in your responses to my comments please address the message and stop attacking the messenger. By doing that people will take your comments more seriously and attach more credibility to them. Gaston Browne and his government has acted unconstitutionally many times in the last 6 years. If you are not aware of that you are not living in this country. Two quick examples for you are the unconstitutional amendment to the Prison Act 2017 and the recent so-called Virtual Meeting of Parliament. Please, instead of attacking the messenger, tell me your position on those two examples.

    • Chuckie, why you chatting so much. You running for something. You’re not the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Show respect for the man who is, the Hon. Jamal Pringle. NO political parties were invited to be a part of this committee, but THE Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal opposition was. Respect the man. Thank you.

    • Tabor I get it is your pipe dream to one day be the AG. I get you try to be some big time analyst of the law but please look at this COVID-19 and tell me where any of this crisis the rules of normalcy applies. You keep saying the virtual meeting of Parliament is unconstitutional but use your common sense do you really think in this time when we are suppose to practicing social distancing that over 25 persons should gather in Parliament? This COVID-19 is a world wide health crisis in which the whole world is on lockdown and people die by the hundreds daily. Instead of talking about the constitution why don’t you and your party put politics aside and make a valid contribution in this crisis. Election is not constitutional due till 2023 then you are free to bash Gaston and his cronies.
      Again I don’t not support ALP but if it people like you Tabor who is going to be running for the UPP then I think I’ll stay home cause you are bring nothing fresh to the table. Just the same bashing labour party.

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