UPP dismisses PM claim of good fiscal management

Opposition Senator Demani Tabor

As Prime Minister Gaston Browne boasted during his national Independence Day address about the strides the country has made under his leadership, Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the United Progressive Party (UPP) is of the opinion that the country has been grossly mismanaged by the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) government.

Browne, in his address, spoke of Antigua and Barbuda’s economy being the largest in the OECS and the millions of dollars generated from the West Indies Oil Company (WIOC) into the treasury.

However, Tabor said the government has not managed its finances wisely despite collecting more money than the UPP did on a yearly basis.

“The ABLP had consistently collected 200 – 250 million per year more than UPP’s highest revenue year. They have further declared dividends and corporation taxes of five and eight million in the case of WIOC and a 10 million State Insurance dividend.

“That being the case what we see today is the result of a case of dual mismanagement. Mismanagement of their unprecedented yearly revenue and a failure to do basic preventative maintenance and associated safety audits,” Tabor said.

It is against this backdrop, Tabor said, that massive new borrowings are being undertaken and become concerning.

The government last month announced that it will borrow funds from the World Bank and Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) totally a combined US$85.8 million.

Tabor said a new team with a fresh vision is what is required to move the country forward, adding that the prime minister seem to be “begging” everybody for assistance.

“How can we hope to maintain the fiscal performance required to upkeep new infrastructure when the old is allowed to crumble? What is needed is a new fiscal administration, which leverages best practice managerial tactics and technology to reduce waste, maximise on what is delivered from current revenue and to preserve infrastructure to the satisfaction of workers,” he noted.

According to the PRO, the Gaston Browne administration has gone from attempting to create an economic powerhouse, which was its mantra leading up to the 2014 general elections, to creating an “alms house”.

Tabor also mentioned that the recent lowering of the Citizenship by Investment programme (CIP) was “pure desperation.”

Browne in his address noted that the government will build a stakeholder society as the country’s economy is the fastest growing in the hemisphere.

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  1. wait! hold up! A way he resurrect from?? Thought the party did the wise thing by keeping Damani in “hush mode” since he can no longer appear on Observer radio unless he signs that legally binding document. Is Damani going to be running as a UPP candidate on the their ticket for the next election??? He should run against Gaston Browne.

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