The main opposition United Progressive Party is making suggestions on ways to bring water relief to residents.
UPP leader Harold Lovell wants the Gaston Browne government to Immediately Remove All Taxes on The Importation of Water Storage Supplies.
He told a press conference this wee: We look at the situation regarding the failed water promises by the prime minister.
The prime minister has failed to deliver adequate water to the people, despite spending millions and promising the world, while missing every deadline that he has imposed for water delivery.
He has now resorted to blaming APUA staff, to distract from his failed leadership. Gaston Browne has gone so low as to accuse the APUA staff of sabotaging water delivery by shutting off valves.
He is clearly out of his realm in addressing the water issue, and owes the hardworking staff at APUA an apology. We’re therefore forced to add the lack of water to the list of ABLP failures.
The nation is howling in protest, from one corner of the country to the next. More than eight years into the ABLP-managed administration, the water crisis has become so severe in certain areas that the only source of daily water is through delivery trucks.
The ABLP promised that reverse osmosis plants would increase the water supply and solve the water problem. The situation has not improved despite various pledges and commitments from the Prime Minister.
The ABLP government continues to give a litany of excuses. We were told that the problem would be solved by September of this year. This was the date that was given for the water problem to be resolved.
The United Progressive Party, we recognize that a permanent fix for the challenges faced will not be accomplished overnight. We understand that the Antigua Public Utilities Authority, despite their best efforts, will not be able to fix this problem in the immediate to short term. And the United Progressive Party, we pledge to put the necessary plans, policies, programs in place, and personnel, to have this problem fixed in a comprehensive way, once and for all.
However, whilst we work towards finding the long term solutions, we believe that other measures should be taken to ameliorate the challenges of storage faced by many low income families, small farmers and small businesses.
This problem of storage, we intend to address in the following way:
As a UPP administration, we will, and we call upon this government to immediately introduce what we refer to as the WATER Programme, which is the Water Tank and Equipment Relief Programme, the WATER Programme.
Under this programme, we say, for a period of 12 months, the UPP will remove all taxes related to the importation of water storage tanks, water pumps, pressure tanks, electrical and plumbing fixtures, and all other supplies and equipment necessary in order for persons to be able to get water.
We are aware that currently many persons have to face the expense of installing a pump, a pressure tank, as well as other fixtures in order to have running water for their families.
It is only right, therefore, that in light of the increased burden placed on the backs of the people of this nation, that a government should have enough empathy for the people to waive all taxes related to the importation of water tanks, equipment, and other fixtures and fittings.
And a UPP administration, once elected, we will do this. But in the meantime, we call on the Gaston Browne administration immediately to remove all taxes on the importation of the items mentioned.
We go further to say that over a period of two years, the UPP will make a minimum of $5 million available to the Antigua and Barbuda Development Bank.
These funds will be used specifically on low interest loans in order to allow persons to be able to buy the necessary pumps and tanks and other plumbing and electrical fixtures and fittings, to make their lives bearable.
And so we want to re-emphasize what we propose to do. We propose for a period of 12 months, as an interim measure, to remove all taxes for the importation of water products. And over two years, we will make available $5 million, which will be utilized for low interest loans in order to help low income families in particular.
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