Opposition Bench to stage historic ‘People’s Parliament’ on first anniversary of General Election

The eight Members of the Opposition Bench will be presenting their
response to the 2024 Budget, among other national issues, on
January 18, in a forum dubbed “The People’s Parliament.”
Initially, these MPs had hoped to stage the event on January 11.
However, it was decided to reschedule it to the later date – the first
anniversary of the General Election held last year.
All six United Progressive Party (UPP) parliamentarians will be
joined by Barbuda MP Trevor Walker, political leader of the Barbuda
People’s Movement (BPM), and MP Asot Michael, the independent
representative for St. Peter.
The group, calling itself “Members of the Opposition Coalition of
Antigua and Barbuda,” will speak on a plethora of national issues,

including the hike in the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax and the
erosion of food security with the destruction of the Dunbars
Agricultural Station.
Each member will also give his perspective on the $1.3 billion
budget for 2024, presented in December 2023 by Finance Minister
Gaston Browne.
According to a press statement issued today, January 9, the MPs will
also be grading the Browne Administration’s first year in the current
Many residents view 2023 as a rough time, with inflation rising by
as much as 6 percent and driving the cost of living sky high. It was
also marked by an increase in criminal activity – in particular,
robberies, break-ins and larcenies, many of which involved the
threat of guns.

And despite a high rate of government borrowings, they note that
little attention was paid to the country’s crumbling infrastructure, as
the hospital’s operating theatres were flooded and mold and rodent
infestation affected its kitchen.

Several community clinics were also closed or relocated, while the
condition of the roads deteriorated and the water woes continued.
Democracy is being eroded by the Gaston Browne Administration,
the Opposition MPs say, and they wish to see it restored through
representation that is based on consultation.
The People’s Parliament, billed as a historic event, will be staged
next Thursday, at Freedom Hall on lower Newgate Street.

At 5 p.m., a roundtable discussion among the Opposition senators
will get the ball rolling and then transition to the “Lower House
debate” at 6 p.m.

The event will be streamed live on several social-media platforms
and on Progressive FM and Observer Radio.
Leading up to the debate, the MPs will be making appearances on a
number of radio programmes and Facebook discussions.
The eight Opposition members won the popular vote in last
January’s polls, leaving the Browne Administration with a one-seat
majority in Parliament.