DeFreitas says 13 percent increase in ABST is going to ‘kill most people,’ noting they are already choosing between food and bills

The Gaston Browne Administration continues to face criticism for its
increase in the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST), which should
take effect in the New Year (2024).
The hike, essentially, is a 13 percent increase that moves the base
from 15 to 17 percent. And at a time when most households are
already struggling with the high cost of living, Franz deFreitas says
the Administration is wicked for imposing further suffering on the
In fact, DeFreitas, the United Progressive Party caretaker for St.
John’s City South, believes the sales tax increase is going to “kill
most people.”
He points out that the hike is not simply a difference of 2 percent on
the items purchased regularly, as the Administration wants
residents to believe.

Rather, he says, the effective 13 percent increase will impact many
people who already can ill afford to take care of themselves and
provide for their families.
He adds that the hike in the ABST will work out to be significantly
higher than the salary increases the Government has promised
public-sector workers. Therefore, he says, citizens and residents
have to stand up and say “enough is enough” with regard to the tax
increases outlined in next year’s budget.

As it stands now, families are having to make critical decisions about
their spending – whether to buy food, or to pay their bills, or to see a
doctor if they are unwell – the UPP caretaker says. 
Very often, residents go to the supermarket and are forced to put
back some essential items when cashing out, because they simply do
not have enough money, even for snacks for their children, deFreitas

That was Franz deFreitas, UPP caretaker for St. John’s City South.