PM Says Increase In ABST Possible


Prime Minister Gaston Browne says his government will increase the Antigua Barbuda Sales Tax by one percent if it is necessary to fund Five Islands Campus of the University of the West Indies.

A windfall tax on financial institutions, insurance companies and the West Indies Oil Company is expected to raise EC $ 15 million annually to help fund the school.

Browne told his radio station over the weekend that the windfall tax will be for two years in the first instance.

He said if that tax fails to raise enough revenue to run the fourth landed campus of the UWI, he is open on increasing the ABST.

“We are also looking at the possibility maybe sometime down in the future to increase the ABST by one percent, if we are unable to meet the funding requirements on the university,” the prime minister who is also finance minister said.

He had an early response to those who might argue that increasing the ABST would also result in an increase in the cost of living.

“What i’ll say here that it is a sacrifice that all of us will have to make to ensure that we have a university here so that we have become more competitive,” Browne told radio listeners.

He met with UWI officials last week and told them ” we will find the money to fund the university.”

“As I said to them, just give us the fiat to move forward,” Browne added.

He said UWI is satisfied with the physical plant which the government will not have to pay rent for.

The prime minister said having a university is so important “we cannot take the position that we cannot afford it.”

“We must afford the fourth landed campus,” he added.

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  1. At first I was pissed when I saw the headline, but then I read the article and understood the rationale for the possible increase. Nothing that is worthwhile comes easy. And I do agree 100% with the sentiments expressed in the last 2 sentences of the article.

    • To the best of my knowledge we cannot afford a university. There are huge everyday costs involved in running a university…QUALIFIED professors do not work for a pittance plus, plus, plus. Many universities have endowments. Who in their right mind is going to endow monies to a university that is controlled by known corruption? Persons who have actually attended a university and parents of same should be well aware that this tiny island would not be able to afford the expenses. The government schools and the free health care system are struggling far less! Why raise the cost of living meaning that the increasing less fortunate have an even harder time putting (nutritious) food on the table for a pie in the sky. The too high cost of living does not affect the govt. ministers because one way or another we are paying for their lifestyles…It’s enough now!!

  2. Mr PM.
    Please leave ABST alone. Abst is paid by everyone. The cost of living is already high. Any increase is just going give the stores an excuse to raise prices.

    How about adjusting the upper bracket of the education levy. Which is appropriate to fund and education facility.

    The poor people of this nation need no more hardship. They voted you in for that purpose.

    • I have made the same suggestion when it first was discussed. Why can you have Medical Benefit with no ceiling. Just raise the ceiling incremental for Education levy. And use the additional to fund the University.

  3. Why should only the upper bracket of the levy be increased? Those in that bracket will probably be the ones whose children won’t go to that campus. Everybody should make the so-called sacrifice.

  4. The cart before the horse syndrome of these politicians. Why go and promise a UWI campus before you have the finances? People are already financially strained as it is. Adding more taxes may see some families facing bankruptcy. Why not use some of that planned finances to buy out deluxe and put it toward this initiative?

    For the sake of supporting a party, ABLP followers continue to suffer in silence.

  5. I say only the members of the CABINET should pay for the university.
    Listen they are all multi millionaires, it’s time they give back in way of a CAPITAL PROJECT that will benefit all.

    They can afford it this way THEY CAN PUT THEIR NAMES ON IT as customary because it’s thier money spending.

    Another problem solved without much effort. Keep it simple no need to complicate it and bringing the (HOLE) nation into it.
    “99% OF PEOPLE WILL THIEF IF THEY GET THE OPPORTUNITY”, so don’t worry the CABINET can come up with creative ways to pay for it, they have lots of RICH FRIENDS. so real talk never allow your emotions to control your tongue. THINK THINK THINK

    The days of exploitation is coming to an end not sure if that or Jesus will come first.

    • RICHARD LEWIS should be able to make a sizeable “donation” given the millions he has been concealing from his constituents. When they ask him for help, he claim say he broke and don’t have any money.

  6. We need a good university in Antigua, for sure. The PM should focus on fundraising for the university by asking the private sector to contribute big $. For example, we can name buildings after companies or people that donate big $. We also have many global celebrities that live part-time in Antigua, I’m sure they would help if they were asked. Everybody likes universities.

  7. Him baxside mussa knack he head when he run into it on purpose. He can’t be serious people already suffering and he want to make things worse. Why he don’t take the money out his own pocket instead of poor people own.

    • I guess you are one of the RICH FOLKS who can afford to send your children abroad to study. Out-of-state tuition, housing, food, clothing, utility bills etc.

      Don’t just oppose for opposing sake. See the bigger picture for the investment in the human resources of the country, neighboring islands, and the world.

      Shake off the tunnel vision.

  8. What about this? Under the Concession Agreement with Global Port Holding, the YES Foundation is to be established. 1. Can the govt negotiate to include in the YES Foundation funding commitment for the A&B university by GPH for a minimum of 30 years? 2. Can the govt negotiate to include funding commitment for a Marine Science department to offer study areas in Marine Biology, Marine Chemistry, Coastal Geology and Marine Analytical Technolgy, by GPH for a minimum of 30 years and name it the GPH Marine Science department?

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