UPP says PM Browne demonstrated that safety of the Alfa Nero was his priority – and not that of unpaid public servants

The United Progressive Party (UPP) is condemning Minister of
Finance Gaston Browne for the late payment of public-sector
salaries, and noting that, for his Administration, the security of the
Alfa Nero trumped that of citizens and residents.
As the Nation braced for the onslaught of Tropical Storm Philippe,
the UPP says, government workers were dealt a double blow: having
to prepare for the bad weather and doing so without money.
Up to Tuesday, October 3, many public-sector employees – including
Treasury staff – complained that they had not been paid for

This inflicted financial strain and mental stress on families, as they
struggled to stock up on food and essential supplies, as well as
materials to secure their homes ahead of the storm’s passage, the
UPP says.

By failing to pay the workers on time, the Browne Administration
limited their ability to prepare for the storm and to function after,
Opposition Leader Jamale Pringle charges.

Meanwhile, he points to Browne’s quick action in securing the Alfa
Nero – by having the yacht moved from Falmouth Harbour to the St.
John’s Harbour ahead of the storm.

He contrasts this with Browne’s blatant disregard for the safety and
financial commitments of government workers and vulnerable

Among many other issues, this is strong evidence of where the
Browne Administration places its priorities, Pringle notes. It
continues to demonstrate that it will choose money and pie-in-the-
sky ventures over the welfare of citizens and residents of Antigua
and Barbuda every time, he adds.

Further, he says the Administration was unprepared for the weather
and was without an adequate disaster-management plan.
Questioning the Government’s budgetary approach, Pringle is
wondering whether the National Solid Waste Management Authority
received adequate funding and resources to begin the clean-up

Up to 24 hours after the Tropical Storm Watch had been lifted, clean-
up efforts of public premises had not yet begun – despite the closure
of government offices and schools. Accordingly, Pringle was
concerned that this would impact the flow of traffic, as business
activity resumed on Wednesday.

And more than 30 hours after the passage of Philippe, the Party says,
many communities remained dirty, with garbage that had washed
up from uncleaned gutters and fallen tree branches.
“By failing to make disaster preparedness a priority, the
Government demonstrated that it is insensitive to the needs of the
people,” the UPP says.