Prime Minister Gaston Browne appears to be blaming the Opposition for the recent spate of break-ins and vandalism at the Nation’s public schools, suggesting that these incidents are politically motivated and meant to gain political mileage.
Browne claims that this is the same playbook deployed by the Progressive Labour Movement (PLM) to bring down the Labour Party Government under V.C. Bird in the 1970s.
He claims that, while government schools continue to be the target of thieves and vandals, this is not the same for private schools.
It appears that Browne is unaware that several private institutions have also been broken into and robbed, including the Baptist Academy, which has burglar bars installed on its buildings, and the St. Peter’s Academy, from which the thieves stole money.
Even churches have fallen prey to thieves, as well as scores of businesses and households. In fact, many residents have accused the Police of failing to report the extent of the situation in order to give the impression that the incidence of crime is low.
Meanwhile, Browne says his government will resist any excess coming from his opponents, and he is prepared to use the Police and Army to patrol the Nation’s schools and bring the perpetrators to justice.
He says he is confident that someone will be caught and will reveal the names of the politicians behind these nefarious acts.
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s accusations, a woman notes that when crime spiked under the UPP Administration – with one year recording 19 murders – the Antigua Labour Party rejoiced and used it to their political advantage.
However, she says, at no time did the UPP publicly state that the opposition Labour Party was behind the increase in crime, although many people believed, then, that politics had, indeed, played a part.
She says the Labour Party is familiar with that playbook; this is why Prime Minister Browne, the head of that party, is making the situation political. “As a man speaketh, so does he also think,” the woman says.
In the meanwhile, UPP officials say that Browne’s unfounded accusations show that “desperation has set in” and, as usual, he is “trying to find scapegoats for his Administration’s failures.”