The latest borrowing by the Gaston Browne Administration –
reportedly US$100 million to facilitate certain airport upgrades and
other government projects – should be debated in Parliament before
the money is disbursed. This is the position of the United
Progressive Party (UPP).
During its meeting last Wednesday, November 8, the Cabinet
reportedly held a Zoom meeting with three officials from a banking
group. However, the name of the banking group was not disclosed
and whether the institutions are local or otherwise was not shared,
However, it was noted that those discussions centred on a loan to
the Government through the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority
From that sum, which is about EC$270 million, the Government will
receive EC$27 million upon signing the loan document. The balance
would then be disbursed in phases to the Airport Authority.
It is expected that the first tranche of these funds will be delivered
before the end of November 30.
Damani Tabor, UPP public relations officer, says that borrowings of
this size should be taken before the Parliament, affording Opposition
members to debate such loans.
But as it stands now, Tabor says, the public – whose tax dollars will
be repaying the loan – has no information on the agreement, not
even the rate of interest.
Further, he says, no study was done to justify the borrowing of this
large sum, or to demonstrate that it is a priority at this time.
Accordingly, Tabor says the UPP is demanding more information on
this loan to ensure it is not another scheme for ministers to enrich
He notes that a loan of this magnitude should be used to repair the
country’s ailing infrastructure, including the many police stations
and clinics that have been closed or relocated – in some instances,