The United Progressive Party (UPP) is calling on the Gaston Browne Administration to revisit its recent hike in fuel prices at the pumps.
As of Tuesday, March 15, the prices of gas and diesel increased by over 25 percent to $15.70 and $15.50 per gallon, respectively, and the Party says it rejects the hike as being “drastic.”
It also calls for the Prime Minister to explain conflicting statements made by the Chief Executive Officer of the West Indies Oil Company Ltd.
The Party says, “It cannot be right to assure consumers that they are in a comfortable position for six months and then, without notice or cushion, hit them in the pocket with an over 25% increase in fuel prices.”
According to the Party, consumers– both the business sector and private individuals – have a right to an explanation and justification at a time when the cost of living is already high and the country continues to struggle as a result of the pandemic.
“We remind the Prime Minister that Antigua and Barbuda is still in the early stages of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic during which his Administration REFUSED TO PROVIDE A STIMULUS, even as 1,000 small businesses went under,” the statement reads.
It adds that many residents are still unemployed or underemployed, having lost their jobs in 2020, and named the workers of LIAT (1974) Ltd., Jolly Beach Resort and CAS as victims.
Tamarind Hills Resort and Rex Halycon Cove remain closed, and “taxi drivers and vendors who were deprived of any income at all during the shutdown of tourism activities are still struggling to stay afloat, along with farmers, many retail businesses, and pensioners,” the Party states.
It says the Browne Administration has unilaterally taken a decision that will increase the cost of living for every single resident and business operator.
Again, the Party points out that consumers did not benefit when fuel prices were at an all-time low and asks what justifies these immediate and cruel hikes now.
Therefore, the UPP is calling “for a reversal of the decision to increase fuel prices until and unless there has been consultation with the people,” and it encourages “consumers to resist the implementation of this unfair and brutal action.”