COMMENTARY: Citizens Must  Address The Underlying Issues Of Government Spending Or When They Say Pay We Just Have To Pay

Audley Phillip

…… Audley Phillip


Citizens Must  Address The Underlying Issues Of Government Spending Or When They Say Pay We Just Have To Pay


Just mere weeks after the Prime Minister announced in his Independence day message that Antigua and Barbuda was expected to see a phenomenal growth rate of over 8 percent this year, which according to him made Antigua and Barbuda the country with the second fastest growth rate in the region, the Prime Minister has given a clear indication of his government’s  intention to raise the Antigua & Barbuda Sales Tax by a possible 2 percent soon.


If Antigua & Barbuda is doing so well, then the people should expect  at a minimum  NO NEW TAXES or even more,  a decrease in some of the taxes that we are already on the books..


The age of spending anyhow now without accountability is ruining our country and the prospects for our children’s future.  We cannot allow partisan politics to  make us overlook the long term effects of blind  policies and programs that are likely to have a severe negative impact on the citizens’ purse in the long run .  If we do not take stock of how we do things now, it will inevitably create a future of economic hardships for us  and generations  to come later.  We simply cannot close our eyes to the reality of the situation that is before us today.


Taxpayers have repeatedly watched  the government respond to some  problems with the creation of new ones,  with dire spending initiatives that were never budgeted for. Some  cases in point are the Alfa Nero Vessel  and the enormous amount of money that we are spending to maintain and sustain it,  the huge sums of money  that was spent on the St. Mary’s South by-election, and so much more.  All this  money came out of the treasury – it is our money that we paid in taxes.


The Government must find ways and means of reorganizing and repurposing the money that it already has within the Government bureaucracy and not try to impose additional burden on the people by way of additional taxes.


There are also programs within the government that have outlived their mission and usefulness  and are operating  way below peak efficiencies.  All such wasteful spending has been a contributing factor to the government deteriorating fiscal health today.


Quite honestly, the people deserve  better  from their government in terms of how our tax dollars are spent.    Every dollar spent by the government must be measured by its effect on actual outcomes.  Value for money is the only way.


Our system of government lacks serious oversight..and  there are little or no checks and balances once the government budget is passed annually. This situation only deepens the mistrust in government  and how they spend our hard earned tax dollars.


There must be justification for wanting to increase taxes when the country is doing so good and to date the government has provided none.  Without that, we the citizens would simply just be giving the GOVERNMENT a blank check to do as they please  and when they say PAY, WE JUST PAY.


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  1. Well written and articulated article Audley Phillip.

    Another way of putting it is: Economy, Efficiency and Effectiveness or Value for Money.

    Your articles do contribute to the national discourse.

  2. Well said Audley. I await the singers to tell that “water is not really wet”. There is an old saying, ” Don’t hang your hat where your hand can’t reach”. Sadly this seems to be lost on ABLP and more importantly their supporters, who only know better when their party is out of office.
    By the same way, they have announced that there will be no ABST relief this year. The money being WASTED on Alpha Nero, St Mary’s by-election etc,etc is now biting hard.
    Brace yourselves Tenman and Sideline et al.

  3. As a way to deal with the corruption, malfeasance, lack of accountability and all this mistrust of the ruling arm of the Government…

    1…All foreign trips and diplomatic engagement(s), MUST include members from the Ruling Arm and the Non-ruling Arm of the Government.
    2…Be a bold leader, and I’m referring to both political parties, be really progressive to move the Nation forward benefiting all, by APPOINTING a member or two, who’re not a member of your organization to head a Ministry and be a part of the CABINET, since, having one individual heading two(2) to three(3) Ministries which is unproductive because, no matter how great a multitasker anyone is, burnout happens.

    3…#Salary vs Perks, government Ministers who’re Members of the Cabinet should either reduce their salary and get the perks, or take their salary minus the perks.

    4…Get rid of this damn policy which have Members of Parliament, who serves two(2) getting full pension with benefits/perks.

    It’s high time to rein in all of these GIVEAWAYS to politicians #WHO’RE simply doing a job.

    Jumbee_Picknee aka Ras Smood
    De ‘ole Dutty Peg🦶🏿Garrat_Bastard

    Vere C. Edwards

  4. Audley I really wanted to take time to respond to your un-educated babble. but when I sat down to pen things down that I have done many times already, It down to me that you are just creating mischief. Please stick with topics that you understand. And economics and how an economy works is not one of them. Simple things as Economic Growth and the government Cash flow, one has nothing to do with the other. Economic Growth is the increase in economic activity. if the country was a company you would say that the Sales increased. As accounts know you many have increase in Sales but you cash position remains poor. This could be because your customers are not paying or you are debt strapped. Antigua and Barbuda is suffering from both. They collection of our taxes left much to be desired and our debt to GDP is much too high. While increasing our GDP is a good thing, cause it will decrease the debt to GDP ratio and allow us to borrow more money for our development. Lets take a look at Guyana. Because they have found oil, the black gold, do you think that their citizens are suddenly doing well? Sorry to disappoint you. The new found wealth is for the oil companies. Yes Guayana is in a better position to borrow money and may investors are now knocking on their door cause they want to come and have a piece of the pie. While we have to be begging investors to come here. Trinidad have oil not for years, but the average Trinidadian is not better of. And again, the average Antiguan has it much better than the average Trinidadian. We spend US Dollars as easy as we spend EC Dollars. Trinidadians cannot do that. Another example for you. If you work for a large company and they make a large profit, does that mean that you will get a salary increase. Keep dreaming. The profit is for the shareholders, not the employees. They got their salaries promptly paid. No wonder many companies in the USA are now facing strike actions, because the employees are very distraught because their salaries have remained flat for years while the CEO and shareholders have been raking in very high profits. But that is Capitalism. So don’t think that because the country’s economy is doing well that everyone is doing well. That would be ideal. But we are not in a communist state, nor a socialist state. Profits are for the shareholders.
    I really hope that this small lesson of economic 101, would have taught you not to speak on to topics that you know nothing about. The government has a budget, and cannot spend what is not in the budget, and when they do, they need to go back to parliament with Special Warrants to justify their spending. Antigua is not the Wild Wild West as you would like it to be. It is governed by laws and regulations. Sure we need improvements, but then again which country doesn’t. Just stick you nose in the USA affairs and you will find out what happens to all them billion they spend on Covid. UN_ACCOUNTED FOR. I just saw a documentary where they are still trying to found out what happened to the funds for the New Jersey Hurricane Relief Sandy. Billions unaccounted for.


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