DNA leader questions purported 6.5 per cent growth


The Head of the National Democratic Alliance (DNA) is questioning the country’s 6.5 per cent growth which has been boasted about by Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

Member of Parliament for All Saints East and St Luke Joanne Massiah has termed the growth “artificial” and is asking where the government got that figure.

The prime minister on more than one occasion has said that the over 5 per cent growth is responsible for Antigua and Barbuda being elevated into a higher income bracket, and that is why the country does not qualify for certain types of loans or assistance that some developed countries provide.

“The fact of the matter is if there is a 6.5 per cent growth in the economy we want to know particularly in which sector or sectors is that growth being seen and felt, because there has been little to no trickle-down effect in the broader economy of Antigua and Barbuda,” Massiah said on Observer Radio this morning.

She made reference to Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) recent statistics which outlined that among the youth there is 35 per cent unemployment rate in Antigua and Barbuda, and 20 per cent among the adult population.

Massiah has asked the government to be very cautious when making certain public pronouncements, which can hamper the country’s chances at receiving much needed funds or assistance from donor agencies or countries.

She also questioned whether the percentage growth was confined to a specific sector “where opportunities for employment” cannot be accessed by the country’s unemployed or are rear.

“The government has to be careful with its utterances because if I were an international agency and I would have heard and seen in print, maybe on the government’s website or from the prime minister himself . . . the amount of wealth Antigua and Barbuda has amassed, then you ask yourself why do they need all this help? Not that you don’t need help, but why do you need all of this?” she said.

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