“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!  I don’t know when my people will learn that the word of this Labour Party administration cannot be trusted.”  Those were the words of a frustrated CARICOM brother.  

Just before the  January 18 election, the United Progressive Party announced that under its “One Caribbean” Act,  effective March 1, 2023,  a UPP Administration would  waive all work-permit fees for nationals of CARICOM and the Dominican Republic who have been resident  and working in Antigua and Barbuda on or before January 1, 2023.  

True to the ABLP Administration copy-cat, cheating form, they announced that they would waive the work-permit fees from January 1, 2023.  

Now, after having  “bought” the government in the recent elections, and with a slim one-seat majority, they are saying that the implementation will be delayed – for all kinds of spurious reasons.

This is the same administration that doubled the work-permit fees and all other associated work-permit costs shortly after they came into office in 2018.  

What was a source of frustration for him, the CARICOM brother said,  was that “ many of them sold their votes for a few dollars. So Labour Party can now treat them anyway they choose, and make them continue to pay the high work-permit fees –  which is much more than what they were paid for their vote –  when they could have had the fees waived with a UPP government. Bamboozled again…but it look like they like it so.”     

If this government was serious about the implementation being January 1, 2023, as they announced, they would have done what was necessary to work out the mechanics, so that they could actually do so.

This was just another case of hornswoggling the people. I know this might be difficult for this administration to do, but I am calling on them to keep their word for once, and implement the waiver of the work-permit fees NOW,  without further delay!

 – Letter by Pearl Quinn-Williams