Two members of the United Progressive Party (UPP) have come out in defense of its position concerning non-nationals, saying the organization is inclusive.
This morning, March 10, on Progressive FM, a caller to the Morning Bush Tea programme made derogatory remarks about Caribbean nationals living here.
In response, the Party’s Chair, D.Gisele Isaac, said this is a time for coming together and not for tearing down, and the Party’s stance toward non-Antiguans and Barbudans is all embracing.
It was only Monday night that Political Leader Harold Lovell proposed measures to ease the squeeze on the immigrant community.
He noted that work-permit fees had been increased by the Browne Administration – with some categories actually having doubled in cost. Hence, the UPP is recommending that all work-permit fees be reduced by 50 percent in this time of crisis.
Further, Lovell advocated that the permits be made job-specific, rather than employer-specific. He explained that this would allow, say, a security officer to leave one company and get a similar position with another firm – without having to pay for a new permit.
At the time, the Political Leader was laying out the Party’s proposals for relief and stimulus measures to counter the economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also rebuffing the radio caller was the Party’s Welfare Officer, Gladys Potter, who is the Candidate for St. John’s Rural South.
Potter says she is the child of a Dominican Republic mother and a St. Lucian father, and she distances herself from the caller’s comments. She adds that such discrimination among residents needs to stop, since the Antigua Labour Party uses every opportunity to divide and conquer.
Potter says her campaign, which commenced last August, has taken her through the length and breadth of her constituency, and she has interacted with people from all nationalities and walks of life.
Meanwhile, Potter says that many non-nationals complain of being disrespected under the Gaston Browne Administration. She says they have been hurt by the treatment meted out to them, especially at the hospital and when they conduct business at the Immigration Department.