UPP and concerned citizens to stage picket in protest of sales tax hike, while St. Kitts gov’t splashes out on its citizens

While the minister of finance –
Prime Minister Gaston Browne – will be presenting a budget
expected to run up to more than a billion dollars, the United
Progressive Party (UPP) will be staging a protest outside the
Parliament Building.
On Friday, December 15, the UPP, along with other concerned
citizens, “will unite for a peaceful protest in opposition to the
recently implemented 2 percent increase in the Antigua and
Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST).”
Residents wishing to take part in the event are asked to gather at 8
a.m. along Queen Elizabeth Highway.
The Party says that protestors should show up with placards that
express their dissatisfaction with the tax hike and emphasize its
disproportionate impact on the working class.

Reportedly, UPP leaders will address the gathering and highlight the
need for transparent economic decisions, and call for a reevaluation
of the Government’s tax policy.
The UPP is hoping that the Gaston Browne Administration will listen
to the people and rethink its decision to put more money into its
coffers by imposing greater hardships on the working class and the
It notes that alternative measures have been put forward by
Ministry of Finance officials, including the reintroduction of the
Personal Income Tax (PIT), which is considered a fairer tax and
usually targets higher-income earners.
Before its abolition, the Government was collecting about $40
million annually from the PIT.
Now, the Browne Administration is seeking to collect $50 million
from the hike on the sales tax.
And as many are anticipating a doom-and-gloom Budget
Presentation, some are hoping that – at the very least – there will be
concessions for the most vulnerable members of society.
Meanwhile, in what has been described as a groundbreaking 2024
budget address on Wednesday, December 13, St. Kitts & Nevis Prime
Minister Dr. Terrance Drew instituted a series of financial-relief
initiatives, providing much-needed support to the people of the
He announced an 8 percent general salary increase for all civil
servants and pensioners, effective January, 2024, recognizing their
invaluable contributions to the government service.

Additionally, a Christmas bonus equivalent to one month’s salary
will be granted to all civil servants and government auxiliary
workers, as well as pensioners, on December 21, 2023.
A groundbreaking “Workers’ Bonus” initiative was also revealed,
granting non-civil servants a bonus of $500 during the month of

This bonus will be paid out through its Social Security Board,
reportedly marking a historic move in the Caribbean, news reports
out of St. Kitts claim.