Opposition coalition points out slew of promises broken by the Browne Administration since last election

Ahead of staging “The People’s Parliament” on January 18, the
Opposition Coalition is reviewing a slew of promises made by the
Antigua Labour Party ahead of the last General Election – most of
which have not been kept.
Less than a year after being re-elected, the Gaston Browne
Administration has discarded its own tax-reduction campaign,
including the pledge not to increase the Antigua and Barbuda Sales
Tax (ABST).
This tax was moved from 15 percent to 17 percent on January 1,
Further, in its election manifesto, the Gaston Browne-led Labour
Party had promised that, where possible, it would reduce the ABST

on additional products and continue programmes that reduce or
remove the tax on goods at seasonal periods.

However, Opposition Leader Jamale Pringle reminds consumers
that, only days ago, the Browne Administration reinstated the
normal tax rate on health and hygiene products that had been
exempted during the COVID-19 crisis.

And, he notes, it was only a month ago that public outrage forced the
Administration into an about-turn after it was announced that the
customary reduction in ABST would not be honoured for the
Christmas shopping season.
In the meantime, many residents have stopped holding their breaths
as they wait for the cost of electricity and water to be reduced – as
was promised – through the use of renewable and green sources of
energy, such as solar power.
There are at least two solar farms on island, but neither is
operational; and electricity rates are still sky-high, householders
The Labour Party also promised to enact legislation that would
bring the retirement age for all workers – in the public and private
sectors – in line with the age at which Social Security pensions are
payable. However, this, too, remains outstanding. 
Another major promise that the Browne Administration has broken
is its pledge to incentivise the agriculture and fisheries sectors so
they can provide locally grown and more affordable food.
This, Opposition critics say, is “the biggest lie,” as the Cabinet has
taken the unilateral decision to destroy the Dunbars Agricultural

Station and convert its lands into an “upscale” housing
The destruction of potato crops, trees, and thousands of dollars in
drip lines recently took place, while roads are being cut and ponds
in the area are being backfilled.
Two groups – the Concerned Citizens and the Faithful Nationals –
protested this action in the past week.
Practically, critics say, most of the Labour Party’s promises to
reduce the cost of living and contain the spike in inflation already
have been broken by the Browne Administration.
As a result, the Opposition Coalition is inviting all residents and the
Diaspora to join it next Thursday, January 18, at Freedom Hall, as its
parliamentarians review both the 2024 Budget and the
Administration’s first year of the current term.
The event, to be live-streamed on several social-media platforms
and broadcast on two radio stations – Progressive FM and Observer
Radio – will begin at 5 p.m.