An audience of more than 300 attendees filled Freedom Hall, while
thousands joined via Facebook Live, as the United Progressive Party (UPP) convened the first National Vision Forum last Thursday evening.
The theme of the forum was “TALENTS: A New Perspective.” The discussion covered several issues related to national development. A number of UPP candidates made dynamic presentations that analyzed pressing issues facing the nation and outlined a number of policies and programs to address these problems and lead to greater job creation and economic stability.
There was also an opportunity for audience participation,
during an intensive question-and-answer session that followed the presentations.
Policy presentations were given by multiple candidates:
• Kyron Simon (St. John’s Rural South) on Cleaning Up Antigua
• Cortwright Marshall (St. Mary’s South) on Agriculture & Linkages to the Economy
• Senator Shawn Nicholas (St. Philip North) on Education
• Dr. McChesney Emanuel (St. John’s Rural North) on Investments & Job Creation
• MP Wilmoth Daniel (St. John’s City West) on Public Works & Housing
These were followed by the main address by UPP Political Leader Senator Harold Lovell.
“This forum was a rousing success. The interactive format empowered constituents from all corners of Antigua and Barbuda to not only contribute to our policy proposals, but to also participate in discussions with candidates who are vying to be their elected representatives.
The UPP slate comprises a diversity of backgrounds and this forum allowed us to showcase our capabilities, rich talent pool and range of ideas. Our party has progressive values and we strongly believe that civic engagement is the only way to ensure that citizens can make educated choices as they participate in the democratic process”, said Senator Harold Lovell, Political Leader of the UPP.
Some of the solutions proposed include:
• The UPP will repeal the job killing Unincorporated Business Tax (UBT). There will
be NO re-introduction of Personal Income Tax (PIT).
• Farmers with 10 or more acres of land under active production will be eligible to
receive land leases up to 25 years, enabling them to access loans to expand their
• Within the first two weeks or less of the next UPP administration, there will be a
reduction in the cost of fuel at the pump that will truly reflect the price of crude oil on
the international market.
• Fuel variation rates will be reduced and pegged to international market rates. Your
APUA bill will come down.
• The UPP administration will allocate EC $7M yearly in grant subsidies from the
national budget to strategic growth areas, including Antigua Sea Island Cotton,
cultural and artistic industries, agro-processing and fisheries, under the Enterprise
• The UPP will create the Young Entrepreneurs Setup (YES) Program to provide free
business training, assistance with formulating business plans, assistance with
approaching financial institutions and government credit guarantees. The old
Parliament Building will be refurbished to accommodate the flagship YES program.
• Government services will be brought closer to your door steps – APUA, MBS and
Social Security payments will be made on-line and in offices in select communities.
Two areas already identified are Bolans and Liberta, and we are currently
evaluating two separate locations in the east.
• Reduce work permit fees back to 2014 (pre-election) rates.
• Convert the old Holberton Hospital into a state of the art Senior Citizens Center.
This world class facility will comprise every concievable component: a media
viewing room, games room, fitness center and other worldclass features.
• All bonafide citizenship applications will be processed within six months.
• The UPP will build a modern center for the performing arts (showcasing steelpan
music, fine arts, etc.)
• Create an education empowerment zone in Coolidge – a 1.5 square mile area of
academic institutions underpinned by a UWI-linked University with a new Faculty of
Avionics and Aviation Engineering. The Avionics sector will be developed with
Antigua as a hub.
Senator Harold Lovell also informed the nation of two large investments which reputable
investors have already undertaken to deliver under the next UPP administration:
• A US $300 million new hotel, realizing 1500 direct and indirect jobs. This agreement
will be signed shortly after taking office.
• A massive investment in the export sector valued at US $122 million and 1185 jobs- direct and indirect. Discussions have already concluded with the interested investment group.
Senator Lovell also expressed concern over the mismanagement of the CIP and loss of visa free access to Canada, saying “My first trip abroad will be to meet with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to begin serious steps towards resuming visa free access to Canada.”
Designed to facilitate citizen engagement in fine tuning the UPP’s Policy Platforms, the National Vision Forum met the key objectives of being diverse, open sourced, and powered by citizens.
The UPP intends to hold a second NVF in January to address Tourism, Health and other areas of national development.
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blah blah blah… now
on a real upp needs all new candidates. the old ones got cash but proven failure. dont think anyone wants harold lovel for pm. i would prefer joanne massiah if another party hould be given a chance. differently winning election is like looking a woman u tell her what she wanna hear and when she gives in you let her down. we need real people to run the country not empty promises. i back no party just how i feel in general.
Thousand of Facebook viewers yet not even one comment and hours after only 8 likes. A quintessential flop. Time to bury this dead party cause they stinking up the place
Are you sure you went to right page. I just watched the Forum on MYUPP and it was excellent. There were 164 FB comments. There took quite a few good questions from the FB audience. I found it to be quite informative and educational. Also very well organized.
Questions to potential ministers…
1 If the price of fuel goes up significantly on the international market will the UPP stick to their promise of reduction of fuel at the pump and fuel variation?
2 When the UPP loose the next general election will they encourage the investor to build the $300 million hotel so 1500 of the UPP supporters can gain employment since unemployment is so high?
3 What prevented UPP from doing all these things during their terms in office?
4 What is the importance to Antigua and Barbuda in lowering work permit fees and processing citezenship in six months?
Supplementary question…Since the birth rate for indigenous Antiguans are diminishing don’t you think a cap on new citizenship would be more appropriate considering there is a 1 1/2 half foreigner to 1 indigenous Antiguan ratio in the country at present?
Second Supplementary Question….Don’t you think persons who come and work should pay for the service or ability of our Government to provide jobs for its citizenry especially considering unemployment is high and in most case their (foreigner) government failed to provide employment for them so an increase would be more appropriate rather than reduction?
I am allowed 5 questions Mr speaker now…..
5 Do you think the easiest thing to do is to criticize and make promises in opposition?
My advice all your investments work with the government bring them to fruition stamp your name on them and the public may have a change of heart other than that blah blah blah fooled me once shame on you fool me twice not gonna happen.
5. The easiest thing I would say is to criticise online–myself included. 🙂
4. I agree with you on this tbh. Won’t get into other angles of my agreement, but I suppose both parties seek various ways to get the non-national votes… sigh
3. Times change. If you get a car now, why didn’t you buy it 10 years ago?? Past is the past in that regard and opportunities are not always available for investment/stimulus etc.
2. No @ encourage the investor. If you don’t vote for them and what they are bringing to the table FOR YOU, why do you want them to hand it over anyway? That’s like a man saying if you marry him you will get to live in his mansion and you reject him outright, cuss him off but then ask him after if you can still live in his mansion.
But on a more serious note, investors have free will and they choose who they trust and want to work with; this goes both ways. So if the investor has chosen to not invest under this administration, then that is their choice for whatever reason, that to a great degree ought to be respected. It would be somewhat conflicting even to encourage investment with a government that one (the party in question) has criticised for being inept, uncaring, opaque maybe even corrupt if they have said this—not that they are.
Basically that’s not how life works generally. There are some investors who don’t give a crap who they invest with, some even prefer governments of a certain repute…but legitimate investors make their own decisions.
The investor they have on board may just pack up and go to another island if they don’t win. Whoever is elected, they should be held to the fire to find needed investment. Not just expect it to be placed in their lap.
1. This is absurd. Not even sweetie shop can run on discount if prices increase astronomically.
Does anyone have any update on YIDA? Is that investment project dead? Was there a performance clause associated with the recessions granted to YIDA by the government? I really hope so! Because after 3 years, if that project is not going to happen the government should make an assessment based on the performance clause and just move on!
We the people, should not accept false promises from either the government or the Opposition!
Gr8. Now we shall see if come elections the UPP will be a rousing success! That’s where it counts- not at the internal party level.
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