The United Progressive Party has issued the following press statement in response to accusations made by the Prime Minister:
Prime Minister Gaston Browne has sunk to new depths in his latest attempt to dodge responsibility for the state in which the Nation finds itself.
Instead of manfully acknowledging the failure of his colleague, Sir Robin Yearwood, and the entire Cabinet to properly address the water situation, Prime Minister Browne has chosen to accuse employees of the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) – specifically supporters of the United Progressive Party – of sabotage.
On what grounds does the Prime Minister make such accusations? What evidence does he have to support them? And why would he expose any employee of the Authority to the public derision and danger that are bound to result from his statements?
It was only last month that Political Leader Harold Lovell revealed the under-resourcing of the Water Division and the under-production of all the RO plants, as well as the Authority’s failure to commission at least three water-storage tanks installed by the UPP Administration.
It was clear that, until then, neither the Minister in charge nor the Executive had taken the time or shown the interest necessary to ameliorate the water challenges afflicting the people. …
Several years ago, Prime Minister Browne admitted that funds assigned to APUA for maintenance had been diverted to other purposes. Was that sabotage or mismanagement?
It has been more than a year since the Administration alleged that millions of gallons of water are being lost daily due to leakage in The Point area of St. John’s. Is that sabotage or incompetence?
It has been a few months since the public was told that loan funds intended to purchase new water pipes would not, after all, be disbursed, forcing the Authority to abandon its plans to replace all the old pipes. Was that sabotage or the realization that the Government will not be able to service the loan?
The Prime Minister owes the employees of the Authority an apology. They carry out the work as they are instructed; they do not make policy decisions.
Therefore, to accuse them of a criminal act simply to make political excuses for his Administration’s poor performance is unprofessional, unbecoming and un-statesmanly.
Further, the failure of the Minister responsible for APUA to defend the staff is nothing short of cowardly.
The workers and the public deserve better.
Political Leader Harold Lovell tells REAL News he will elaborate on the Party’s statement during tonight’s edition of The Captain’s Corner.