PM Browne ‘prepared to demit office’ rather than cut public sector jobs due to IMF loan


SOURCE OBSERVER: While countries across the region continue to seek funding from lending agencies like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bolster their economies, Antigua and Barbuda is not likely to approach that particular financial body – at least not under the stewardship of Prime Minister, Gaston Browne.

“I have always been opposed to any IMF relationship. Yes, you do get cheap money, but it also comes with significant implications [and] I have an antipathy to firing anybody, under any circumstances.

“This is where, philosophically, I have a difference with the IMF because they look at figures and they will force you – if you’re in an IMF programme – to let people go.

“I feel so strongly about this that if we had to go into an IMF programme and I’m forced to let go people, I’d rather go home. I prefer to go home than [for] a single public servant to lose his or her job.”

That was Browne’s response while speaking on state media this week, to a query on whether his administration would consider approaching the IMF for funding, after the Baldwin Spencer-led United Progressive Party (UPP) last entered a multi-million US dollar arrangement with the body back in 2010.

That arrangement was necessitated by the global financial crisis, which caused a drop in revenues generated through tourism and remittances, and severely impacted the already-unstable local economy.

The PM’s declaration came just about a week after an IMF team completed the 2022 Article IV consultation in the country and called on the government to “contain increases in public sector real wages and rely on worker attrition and redeployment to ensure the wage bill is brought below 9 percent of GDP by 2025.”

That advice, however, is not likely to be acted on in the near future, as there are plans to increase public sector wages within the next couple of months and the government maintains its aversion to mass layoffs.

While in this case the IMF’s recommendations are merely so, such statements are often more instructional and even mandatory under official lending arrangements, like the situation in Barbados, according to Browne.

“We’d have seen in Barbados that when they entered their IMF programme initially, they had to let go 1500 people. They just renewed their IMF programme and another 1500 people had to go home.

“We wish Barbados well, don’t get me wrong. This is not being said to criticize the decision of the government of Barbados, we respect their position. But, if anything was to go wrong and they miss their targets, then they’ll have to send home more people.

“So, it’s one thing to get the cheap money, but it could be consequential,” he said.

The PM also made it clear that there might be circumstances, similar to the Covid-19 pandemic, that make it impossible for Antigua and Barbuda to avoid borrowing from the IMF, but maintained that he personally could not preside over such an arrangement.

“I will not go as far as saying never, they always say ‘never say never,’ and I’ll be mature enough to understand that we could find ourselves in yet another pandemic…and then [we] have absolutely no option.

“But, as I said, it would be with extreme reluctance and maybe it may even cause me to walk because of my own personal philosophy that I’d rather leave than to preside over firing, or anyone losing their jobs involuntarily as a result of any IMF programme.”

According to the IMF, the Antigua and Barbuda’s real GDP is estimated to have expanded by 5.3 percent in 2021. It is also projected to grow at six percent in 2022 and 5 ½ percent in 2023.

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  1. THEN JUST CALL THE DAMN ELECTION. That is a good way to demit office . We can hardly wait to vote out your arse.
    By the way, the UPP did not sent home ONE PERSON under its IMF programme.
    Maybe you just don’t know how to negotiate. Like the stinking deal you signed for Jolly Harbour.


  2. This PM is the most incompetent and dangerous we’ve had. We can’t get rid of him soon enough. The public sector is too bloated. We need a moratorium on work permits, so the excess from the public sector can be transitioned to the private sector. We can’t afford to pay people to do nothing all day.

  3. How he didn’t demit office instead of forcing people out of their jobs for refusing the death shot? Now everybody knows it doesn’t even work. He knew how dangerous it was but so conveniently he got to partake of the special batch flown in by his elite buddies.

  4. Lovell is MR. IMF IMF IMF IMF IMF

  5. UPP/Pringle wants Antigua and Barbuda to go back to the IMF……….but
    IMF loans come with harsh conditions that countries must implement in order to meet the loan obligations.

  6. Definition of the word “Arrogance” – having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities. That is Gaston Browne to the hilt except they forgot to add the word “delusional” somewhere in that definition as Gaston remains arrogant even in light of his failures.

    • Yes, the controlled demolition is underway for introduction of the programmable CBDC.
      Create the problem then offer up the solution. When you make people desperate they become amenable. Financial calamity is how the globalist will take TOTAL CONTROL.

  7. “I prefer to go home than [for] a single public servant to lose his or her job.”

    Sooo, now that elections is around the corner, you strangely care about public servants now. From sending some home without pay last year to now not wanting any to lose their job…the same P.M that said he would not make taking the vaccine mandatory. You can fool people one time but you can’t fool them all the time.

  8. When will the HON. JAMALE PRINGLE, the DULY ELECTED LEADER OF HER MAJESTY’S LOYAL OPPOSITION accept the offer by ABS to have a similar interview??? The nation needs to hear from Mr. Pringle too.

  9. Dude, you have more entrails than a road kill marga darg.

    You know damn well that the UPP did not send home one single person. You just can’t let Lovell win that one. You grudge him so much.
    You know you cuss out the IMF woman and now you have to eat crow. You know that even your big red fans won’t buy all this big talk because you boast off to them so much that you are the man and you will NEVER go to IMF. Now you look like a shrimp.
    And you saying you would rather leave office? It is not if you decide to leave. Your ass will be voted out and you are looking for excuse. Go, leave, but left back all we money that end up in your keep.
    Every sensible person, including your minions, know that this day would come. You are the biggest most boastful empty vessel, etc,etc,etc, that ever call himself leader of a whole nation and of sensible people. After they finish beating you with many stripes, they should self-flagellate (that mean beat up deyself) for being such dotish ass morons for voting for you….twice.

  10. It is not Pringle to debate him but Harold Lovell, the Political Leader, just like Gaston.

    Wah? Aryuh fraid him?

    • Dummy the PM said it should not be Harold Lovell alone. We have other political parties running as well. Therefore, we need to include at least Joan Massiah. And I said maybe Go Green as well, that is if he is running.

  11. A man with this kind of conviction and principle is a real man for the people. They do not come any better than that. That shows how much he cares for the people. Lovell would not even blink his eye and sign on the dotted line forthwith. He doesn’t give a damn. It’s all about him. He showed his true colors when he was in office. Did nothing whatsoever for his constituency. People had to run and beg him for jobs. He is not a people’s man.
    Hiep hiep hiep for Gaston Browne. Look how many songs have been made for him already.

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