LETTER: Leadership truly matters

26

Dear editorial team,

Please permit me to express my note to your readership.

There’s no denying that these are difficult times. The ABLP came to office in 2014 and at that time inherited a rotten, broken economy. It was difficult but very quickly Prime Minister Browne and his team set about to fix the problems and in short order stabilized the economy and restored sustainable growth.

An economy which had contracted by 25 percent with 10,000 individuals placed on the breadline, was turned around and average annual growth of five percent was achieved until 2020 when COVID pandemic struck.

Despite the economic contraction in 2020, under astute financial and economic management, Antigua and Barbuda registered positive economic growth in 2021 of 7.4 percent and is expected to grow by 8 percent in 2022.

Leadership truly matters.

The above reported performance of the Gaston Browne led administration typifies the quality of governance required in the face of today’s global environment of inflation brought on by the war in Ukraine; spiralling costs in food and fuel and resultant job losses and economic problems facing countries around the world.

What Antigua and Barbuda does not need at this time is that failed group of UPP politicians, who presided over the collapsed economy.

In addition, they engaged in widespread rip off of public resources and took the country into the bosom of the IMF.

Gaston Browne and the ABLP saved the day and despite the challenges of today’s global environment, not a single public sector job has been lost.

public services continue and in many instances, including education, health care, housing and infrastructure have expanded.

Strong, inspiring and decisive leadership sure does make a difference.

Vote Gaston Browne and ABLP and keep Antigua and Barbuda SAFE and SECURED.

A true concerned citizen

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Taking upp success and try to attain it to alp is not only disingenous but down right evil. Gaston brown is claiming over $300 millon in asset only when hè became prime minister before 2014 you had nothing time will tell fail experiment

    • @ Ras Smood

      NEXT LEVEL CORRUPTION AT A HIGHER LEVEL.

      World Boss need to big up himself for the wonderful amount of SLEAZE AND CORRUPTION UNDERTAKEN BY HIM AND HIS MINISTERS AND MINIONS.
      ANTIGUA NAR HAB NO MO RESOURCES LEFT!!! LORD HAVE MERCY ON US AND THE FUTURE GENERATION.

      • @Ras Smood the Impersonator!
        You are a real ABLP #Copy _Cat and Thief! A True ABLP supporter!

        Gaston Browne should be ashamed to have a thief and an impersonator like you supporting him! Then again, it’s the MO of the ABLP!

        The #next level could be prison!

      • @POVERTY…this impersonator and identity thief is the typical ABLP supporter.
        #thief
        #liar
        #toilet tissue,

        This one has being steadily eating my shit💩to smell like me.

    • @Ras Smood the Impersonator!
      You are a real ABLP #Copy _Cat and Thief! A True ABLP supporter!

      Gaston Browne should be ashamed to have a thief and an impersonator like you supporting him! Then again, it’s the MO of the ABLP!

      The #next level could be prison!

    • Gaston Stache Browne: Why did your Administration borrow $540 million unbeknownst to the people? What is done in the darkness of nights must come out in the daylights.I do hope that the next Administration investigate this loan and follow the money.This should not and would not be another IHI,swept under the rug.People,it really amazes me that not one person was arrested and be charged into that IHI matter.I still listen to those tapes from the CaribArena days and my stomach aches. Very,very,upsetting. How those in the Offices of Governance stole from the people without any fear what so ever.Some of them are still in this Administration to this day.One of these days their empires would crumble into ashes.

      • Didn’t Weston say they had half a billion dollars during covid? I guess they thought the people didn’t need to know the source of the funds. Lord help us because there is no way Antigua can repay these loans. Maybe this is why the need to control the banks. Aren’t banks suppose to have money for raiding?

  2. You forgot to include “corrupt, land-grabbing, self-enriching, lying, tiefing, spiteful, dictatorial and dishonest ALBP leadershit”.

  3. Yawn.

    You will NEVER provide proof of the fake ALP claim of 10,000 unemployed.

    BY the way: Under the IMF loan not a single public sector job was lost, as the lying ALP keeps claiming. Clearly the IMF would not extend similar terms (like maintaining full employment and keeping all social programs) to the failed Gaston administration.

    Please tell us how the secret $540 million loan ALP took on July 31, 2021 was spent.
    This loan costs over 8 times as as much as the IMF loan (double the borrowing and 4 times the interest rate).

    Please tell us how ABLP plans to get the 26 failed projects going:

    1. Sunny Hill Project (Resort in Falmouth/Bethesda area)
    2. Beaches Resort by Sandals Resorts
    3. Half Moon Bay Hotel
    4. Morris Bay / Callaloo Cay Project
    5. Hotel Resort on Pelican Island and Residences on Maiden Island
    6. Labahia Hotel Resort & Condominiums (Marble Hill Business Hotel) by WIOC
    7. Long Bay Hotel Resort by WIOC
    8. Valley Church Hotel Resort by WIOC/PDVSA
    9. Amazon Call Center at Five Islands
    10. Marriott Autograph Hotel at Yeptons
    11. Beach Club at Fort James by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
    12. Renovation and Expansion of Halcyon Hotel
    13. Port Oasis Project at Side Hill
    14. NAMCO acquisition of Jolly Beach Hotel
    15. Best Western Hotel at Jolly Harbour
    16. Marriott Courtyard Airport Hotel
    17. Cedar Valley Golf Course Hotel
    18. Mike Tyson Hotel
    19. Bau Panel/UNOPS Project
    20. The Yida Project
    21. Willoughby Bay Project
    22. Western Imperial Special Economic Zone (WISEZ)
    23. Brova Idea Pearl Hotel – Partly Underwater Hotel
    24. USD $300 Million Hotel from Investors in Holland
    25. Paradise Found (Barbuda)
    26. Armand Hotel (Barbuda)

  4. @ Gaston
    ‘not a single public sector job has been lost’, so misleading as one is to assume that during the economic crisis during the UPP’s administration that thousands of jobs were lost!!!!
    Not one public sector worker was laid off during 2004-2014.
    ‘public services continue and in many instances, including education, health care, housing and infrastructure have expanded’…….please snap out of your illusion- do you live in stinking and dutty Antigua, where all residents and tourist, including your strong supporters complaining about the filth of the country as if CBH and Solid Waste have gone on strike?
    WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE FOOLING MR ‘TRUE CONCERNED CITIZEN’? I think someone in Antigua must have transposed this to you because you are obviously a foreigner.
    AGAIN WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE IMF? THE IMF LENT MONIES TO ANTIGUA @ 1% AND GASTON AND HIS BAND OF MERRY MEN WENT AND BORROWED 4 TIMES THAT AMOUNT @ INTEREST RATES OF 7 TO 10 TIMES THAT. WHICH IS MORE BENEFICIAL TO THE NATION AND THE FUTURE? ABLP DOES NOTHING BUT LIE AND LIE AND MISREPRESENT THE TRUTH.
    THE TRUTH IS ALL THEY HAVE DONE SINCE THEY TOOK POWER WAS TO ROB THE COUNTRY BLIND WITH ALL THEIR ENRICHMENT SCHEMES, WHERE GASTON IS IN THE GAME OF FLIPPING LANDS AT LONG BAY, MARBLE HILL, ENGLISH HARBOUR AND DREDGE ETC.
    PEOPLE PLEASE DO NOT LOSE THE CARE OF YOUR BRAIN AND VOTE FOR THESE THEIVES.
    GET RID A DEM!!!

    • @THE TANGLED WEB OF CHRISTIAN MUDER WITH BROKER AND PM SIGNATURE MUST BE SOLVED

      Seems like you guys suffer from selective amnesia. What about the Port Security Officers who were sent home?

      What about the “Voluntary Separation Package” in which many of the most talented public servants, inclusive of teachers, were severed?

      What about the senior police officers, inclusive of Rawlston Pompey, James Hill, and Phillip Isaac, who were unceremoniously discharged from the force and replaced with Canadian Mounties?

      You guys are incredulous!

      • @Wash an Basin
        All them port security ghost workers had to go. They were nothing but Labour Party hacks paid for doing nothing. When UPP took over they couldn’t find them. Why didn’t your government rehire them if they were so useful.
        The UPP administration didn’t sever any public servant. They took the package voluntarily.
        The police force in Antigua is too political and a lot more of them need to go. There is also a lot of incompetence in the force. The Mounties would have provided training to solve some of the unsolved crimes in Antigua.
        I was told by my parents that Wash an Basin was where the night soil was dumped and the shit basins washed.
        Please stop being a carrier of night soil.

  5. Lies, Lies you hear lies. These sycophants of the Labour party really going mad. It was said that Antiguans are not reading people, let me say here some Antiguans. Reading this letter made me go to the IMF website and source the Article IV report on Antigua and Barbuda 2004 and 2014 to read what the IMF said when the UPP took office after 28 years of Labour, then after 10 years of the UPP in 2014 when ABLP won. The letter writer said that the UPP left a rotten economy, what I will do is post both years and the public can decide who left a rotten economy. I just want to mention that the UPP in 2014 left a CIP program that raked in over 2 billion from 2015 – 2022.

    On November 24, 2004, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Antigua and Barbuda.

    Executive Directors welcomed the new administration’s resolve to address Antigua and Barbuda’s deep-rooted problems head-on and its openness in discussing difficult issues. Fiscal mismanagement and deterioration of institutions over the past two decades have resulted in a large buildup of public debt and of domestic and external payments arrears.

    Directors urged the new administration to adopt a medium-term economic strategy aimed at fiscal consolidation, raising economic growth rates by creating an enabling environment for the private sector to flourish, and rebuilding institutions to support the fiscal and growth objectives.

    Directors called for a large upfront fiscal adjustment as a key step in regaining fiscal balance and clearing arrears. This would involve increasing revenue through strengthened tax policy and administration, including a reduction of tax exemptions and the reintroduction of a personal income tax. Directors urged a comprehensive public sector reform to reduce expenditure—including through reduction of the very high level of public sector employment—and to enhance the efficiency of government service provision. This should be accompanied by the introduction of an appropriate safety net.

    Directors emphasized that re-building institutions is crucial for implementing and sustaining the reform effort, and ultimately for achieving the authorities’ growth and fiscal objectives. They recommended putting in place an effective and transparent system of cash and commitment expenditure management, introducing incentives in the civil service to reward good performers, and reforming the two-tier system of public sector employment. They also recommended that steps be taken to enhance public accountability, transparency, and governance, including: closer monitoring of public enterprises, routine auditing of all government accounts, improving customs and tax administration, and introducing a system of effective penalties for noncompliance with tax laws.

    Directors encouraged the authorities to take steps to enable Antigua and Barbuda to achieve its high-growth potential. While welcoming the authorities’ plan to establish a one-stop window aimed at streamlining bureaucratic procedures for new business initiatives, Directors recommended leveling the playing field for foreign and local investors, limiting the role of the public sector to providing basic public goods and services that are complementary to private sector activities, and enhancing efficiency in public utilities. Directors encouraged the government to take a lead role in supporting and engaging in regional initiatives, such as the Caribbean Single Market Economy, which would provide new opportunities for growth.

    Directors were encouraged by the continuing progress in strengthening the regulation and supervision of the offshore financial sector. Directors also encouraged the authorities to continue to work closely with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to further strengthen the supervision of domestic banks, including by approving and implementing the amendments to the Uniform Banking Act, and to ensure an appropriate level of supervision for nonbank financial institutions.

    Directors noted the urgent need to strengthen the quality and coverage of the statistical database in the areas of the national accounts—especially the tourism sector and related services—labor market developments, the public debt, and monitoring the outcomes of the broader public sector. They also saw room for greater regional collaboration on data issues. They encouraged the authorities to enhance reporting under the GDDS, and to seek technical assistance through CARTAC and other donors.

    Directors expressed concern about the high level of vulnerabilities facing Antigua and Barbuda in light of the frequency of natural disasters, the high debt, and the openness of the economy. They encouraged the authorities to formulate a contingency plan to respond to shocks, and to continue with efforts to reduce financial sector vulnerabilities and mitigate the impact of natural disasters.

    December 15, 2014

    On November 24, 2014, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Antigua and Barbuda.

    A modest recovery is underway but macroeconomic indicators are still weak and important vulnerabilities remain. Economic activity in the first half of 2014 showed continuing signs of recovery following real GDP growth of 1.8 percent in 2013. Tourism has performed strongly, with stay-over arrivals up 7.7 percent during the first half of the year. The winter tourist season was the most successful since 2009. Nevertheless, tourist arrivals are still over 5 percent below pre-global crisis (2008) levels while real GDP is 14 percent lower. Commercial bank credit to the private sector was down by 4.4 percent in June 2014 compared with a year ago, as banks continue to deal with high levels of non-performing loans. Inflation remains subdued, reflecting sluggish aggregate demand and the absence of international commodity price pressures. The fiscal stance was eased after the Stand-by Arrangement ended in June 2013 and in the run up to the June 2014 elections. At the same time, scheduled external amortization has more than doubled this year to nearly 3 percent of GDP. With limited financing options, there was a re-emergence of arrears on external debt.

    On current trends, growth would remain modest, with risks tilted slightly to the downside. Real GDP would grow by 1.9 percent in 2014 and 1.7 percent in 2015, underpinned by the ongoing recovery in North America and the United Kingdom. Although the government has begun to address its fiscal imbalances, arrears would be projected to grow. Increased cash flow problems for the government and unattended banking system problems represent serious downside risks. On the other hand, the possibility of large inflows from the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) and foreign direct investments could significantly improve the outlook. However, these would not obviate the need for important policy adjustments.

    Executive Board Assessment1

    Executive Directors noted that macroeconomic and financial conditions in Antigua and Barbuda remain challenging. While a modest recovery continues, long standing problems in the fiscal and banking sectors remain unresolved, including unsustainable public debt, persistent large financing gaps, and high non performing loans and the delay in bank resolution. Directors underscored the need for decisive action to restore fiscal and debt sustainability as a matter of priority. They also emphasized the importance of achieving macroeconomic and financial stability to underpin stronger growth.

    Directors noted the urgency of addressing the cash flow problem. They encouraged the authorities to adopt a comprehensive medium term fiscal consolidation program beginning with the upcoming 2015 budget. While welcoming the measures recently taken, they considered that, given limited financing options, additional measures would be required on the revenue side to improve tax collection and administration, and reduce tax incentives while enhancing regional collaboration to avoid tax competition. They also recommended measures to reduce the wage bill, and cut transfers to state owned enterprises and improve their financial performance and oversight more broadly.

    Directors stressed that fiscal efforts should continue over the medium term to reform public financial management and strengthen the cash management system. They saw the benefits of a strong fiscal framework, including a fiscal rule prioritizing the reduction of debt to sustainable levels. In this context, Directors recommended using revenues from the CIP to first pay off arrears and reduce debt, while adhering to the highest level of transparency and governance in the administration of the CIP.

    Directors welcomed the authorities’ intention to expedite the resolution of Antigua and Barbuda Investment Bank. It would be important to ensure that resources are available to fund the resolution while safeguarding fiscal sustainability. Directors looked forward to progress on the asset quality review and legislative reforms in support of the ECCU regional bank resolution strategy.

    Directors agreed that boosting growth and employment continues to be a high priority. They advised that the focus be placed on improving cost competitiveness and the investment climate. In this regard, they saw a need for reforms of the energy sector, including the state owned utility company, aimed at reducing energy costs and improving efficiency. Lower labor costs and deeper regional collaboration, particularly on labor market issues, would also help enhance productivity.

    Directors welcomed the new government’s swift action to settle arrears and commitment to remain current with its obligations to the Fund. Noting the high risk of debt distress, they encouraged the authorities to explore available financing and debt management option.

    Read for yourself my people!

    One thing I know the ABLP collected more tax revenues between 2014 -2021 over 800 million every year, over 2 billion of CIP monies and US66 million from seized off-shore monies, loans of over 2.5 billion. I would love the people of Antigua and Barbuda to ask Gaston Browne to release the IMF article IV reports from 2015 -2021. Transparency is his watch word.

    • Great article, Mr Knight
      The ABLP is just not transparent and discipline enough to adhere to those recommendations. ABLP need loopholes to accommodate corruption

  6. Listed below are *SOME* of the ABLP accomplishments so far.

    1. Made shares available to the citizenry from WIOC
    2. Abolished Personal Income Tax
    3. Provided many upscale homes in Denfields, Dredgers & Paynters to the average person
    4. Constructing PLH in Barbuda
    5. Improve the housing of the residents in Booby Alley in Point
    7.Renovated several Gov’t building
    8. Extended & created a 1 stop shop at the port
    9. Relieved customers of arrears for APUA
    10. Improved ABS programming
    11. Removed the $5.00 charge from the school meal program
    12. Paid off the IMF in full
    13. Transformed & expanded St. John’s Harbour
    14. Transformed Heritage Quay to accommodate Oasis class VESSELS
    15. Opened a top 5% globally ranked university
    16. Granted young & old to own a decent vehicle
    17. Reduced jail sentencing for youngsters who smokes marijuana
    18. Improved the water system.
    19. Masterminded & became a trendsetter to manage Covid-19 virus
    20. Built the Sir Novelle Richard’s secondary school in record time
    21. Improved VR Stadium drainage to avoid another embarrassment of having sand as the foundation
    22 Saved the banks from being sold
    23. Increased the Scholarship program
    24. Initiated a Entrepreneurial Development Fund
    25. Instituted the H.A.P.I. (Home Assistance Program for the indigent)
    26. Constructed polyclinics in Glanvilles & Villa
    27. Constructed the Friars Hill & George Walter Highway, Valley Church Rd
    28. Instituted the 2nd Chance program
    29. Created a new runway in Barbuda to accommodate bigger aircraft
    30. Rescued the Barbudans from the Hurricane Irma
    31 Reached out & Granted amnesty to the non nationals
    32. Expansion and Upgrade of ABICE (in progress)
    33. Early Childhood Centre and Scholarships for teachers
    34. PLH in Barbuda – booming employment opportunities on the sister isle
    35. Housing Revolution islandwide
    36. Kidney Transplants and other medical services available at SLBMC
    37. Revived iNet into a profitable entity
    38. Antigua Airways (in progress)
    39. Compassionate offer to ex-LIAT workers
    40. GROW Antigua marijuana business
    41. Maintain low crime rate
    42. Resume carnival that stimulated more economic activity spin-offs
    43. Rober Dinero & James Packard to resume investment in Barbuda
    44. Upholds transparency, good governance and communication with the people
    45. Promte, empower and uplift youths
    46. NOBU Barbuda
    47. Investment in Reverse Osmosis plants
    48. YEEP learning program to bolster human resources capacity
    49. Incentives for farmers to contribute to food security
    50. Expansion and increased enrollment at UWI Five Islands 1,700 students this semester
    51. Booby Alley housing project (in progress)
    52. Economic growth as recorded by ECCB and ECLAC

    • More “cut & paste” by @ Hmmmmm.

      Boss, you need to update this INACCURATE and exhausted list to include all the ABLP promises that were made and NOT achieved or acted upon.

      This new list would triple yours …

      YOU GENERATIONAL ABLP SUPPORTERS MAKE ME LAUGH SO TILL 😂😂😂

  7. @ Hmmmmmmm
    I will just list by number your retarded response:
    5, 7, lol, there is no 6
    12, from the monies left by the UPP, lol
    13 and 14 started by the UPP, lol
    16 as though UPP was not the one that started that, lol
    18, lol
    20, plans laid by the UPP
    26, plans laid by UPP, lol
    27, grants from the European Union
    30, that’s what governments should do for their residents
    31 to buy votes to win the election
    38, now I know you are joking
    41, you are being ridiculous now, for real
    42, what the hell is this?????? resume carnival, as though no other government would have!
    44, really, like hiding the fact that they borrowed US$200,000,000 twice without approval and the peoples knowledge!!
    45, really, and copying UPP plans to give positions to youth on boards and in government amounting to circa 30%
    YOU ARE INDEED A USEFUL IDIOT!

  8. Moving right along. Don’t waist your valuable time reading this article. I didn’t.

  9. Do we as readers realize that these stories about ABLP and UPP’s track records are just there to rile us up? AND we always fall for it.

    We are not blind and we are not stupid. We have seen the failings of each party and their successes and they BOTH fall wayyyyy short.

    Instead of getting riled up, reflect inwardly and make your voting decision AND VOTE.

    As a country, we vote party. I already know who I am voting for because I have already weighed the pros and the cons of each party.

    • @ My X is already allocated …….and the GRAMMY GOES TO……..

      ………… THE DNA, lol, lol, lol, lol, lol = wasted vote

  10. The UPP is extremely concerned about the ABLP administration’s repeated false announcements of over 26 development projects have failed to deliver over 3,000 new hotel rooms, 6,000 construction jobs, 7,000 permanent jobs and should have pumped over US $5 billion (over EC $13 billion) into the local economy.

    Since being elected in 2014, the ABLP administration has raised the hopes and dreams of many Antiguans and Barbudans with the announcement of an extensive list of development projects. However, the ABLP administration has amassed the highest number of failed projects under any government in the history of Antigua and Barbuda – likely the poorest track record in the world.

    In addition to dashed hopes and dreams of long-term prosperity for many Antiguans and Barbudans, the country now suffers from an unemployment and an underemployment crisis, with insufficient good paying jobs to meet the needs of our people. Having made these headline announcements the ABLP, has not provided any updates or progress reports.

    The UPP is calling the ABLP administration to explain the reasons for the apparent failure of these 26 major projects which were announced during budget presentations and by senior ABLP officials over the past 8 years.
    The list of projects are:

    1. Sunny Hill Project (Resort in Falmouth/Bethesda area)
    2. Beaches Resort by Sandals Resorts
    3. Half Moon Bay Hotel
    4. Morris Bay / Callaloo Cay Project
    5. Hotel Resort on Pelican Island and Residences on Maiden Island
    6. Labahia Hotel Resort & Condominiums (Marble Hill Business Hotel) by WIOC
    7. Long Bay Hotel Resort by WIOC
    8. Valley Church Hotel Resort by WIOC/PDVSA, later Calvin Ayre Wellness Resort
    9. Amazon Call Center at Five Islands
    10. Marriott Autograph Hotel at Yeptons
    11. Beach Club at Fort James by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
    12. One and Only Hotel and Luxury Villas at Pearns Point
    13. Port Oasis Project at Side Hill
    14. NAMCO acquisition of Jolly Beach Hotel
    15. Best Western Hotel at Jolly Harbour
    16. Marriott Courtyard Airport Hotel
    17. Cedar Valley Golf Course Hotel
    18. Mike Tyson Hotel
    19. Bau Panel/UNOPS Project
    20. The Yida Project
    21. Willoughby Bay Project
    22. Western Imperial Special Economic Zone (WISEZ)
    23. Brova Idea Pearl Hotel – Partly Underwater Hotel
    24. USD $300 Million Hotel from Investors in Holland
    25. Paradise Found (Barbuda)
    26. Armand Hotel (Barbuda)

    UPP Political Leader Harold Lovell states, “It is clear from the large list of stalled or failed ABLP projects that the administration is either failing to attract the right kind of investors or failing to properly nurture investments which have the potential for success.” He further comments, “It is clear that the ABLP’s refusal to cooperate with the experts at the Antigua Barbuda Investment Authority has contributed to this litany of failures. If even a quarter of these projects found success, we would have been more resilient in our post pandemic recovery.”

    Prime Minister Browne himself acknowledges that we are in an unemployment crisis. In the Budget Presentation for the year 2021, he stated on page 9 that, “Figures from the Social Security Scheme indicate a decline of nearly 40 per cent in the number of contributors. This translates to about 11,000 fewer employed persons than when we started the year in 2020.”

    The rapidly growing list of failed projects confirms that the ABLP Administration is incapable of reducing unemployment and providing adequate jobs for the thousands of school-leavers and returning graduates.

  11. There is no other state or country in the world that depends more on tourism than the state of Florida, and although COVID impacted everyone, what did Florida’s government or people did to sustain their economical growth, what was so in tact that allowed Florida to weather the economic fallout of COVID? Antigua and it’s government should be studying and copying Florida’s politics, instead of running to England to bury a Queen, and stop declaring national holiday over a death of a queen who did not advice them properly or helped them during COVID or now that the island in suffering.

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