“It was much larger than we expected. It was a great success.” That’s how Antigua Labour Party (ALP) public relations officer Dean Jonas described yesterday afternoon’s whistle-stop, which he said was held in protest of the incumbent United Progressive Party (UPP) administration’s management of the country.
Jonas, who was among those leading the event which started off at the old Parliament building on Queen Elizabeth Highway at around 1:30 pm, said, “It was large and we are happy that we are here and are able to sensitise the public of the UPP’s poor management of the country’s affairs. We are protesting the increase in fuel prices; selling off of state key assets, like State Insurance; unemployment and everything else we see this administration doing that is wrong to the people of this country.”
The ALP’s PRO gave the UPP administration an “F” for efforts to cushion the recent increase at the pump.
“They have failed us. They should have cushioned the prices instead of just laying it on the people like that. Even the officer-in-charge of the Caribbean Development Bank has urged them to cushion the prices,” Jonas said.
Jonas was referring to a recent statement by Peter Blackman, the officer-in-charge of the Caribbean Development Bank’s Private Sector Development Division, who spoke on March 21, less than a week after gas prices reached it highest ever in Antigua & Barbuda at $13.99 a gallon.
But, a day after Blackman’s statement, Minister of Finance and the Economy Harold Lovell said government is already cushioning the price of fuel.
Lovell had said, “We have been cushioning increases. In fact, with the most recent increase we have only partially implemented the pass through mechanism. If we implemented the full pass through mechanisms the price of fuel would have been much higher.”
Meantime, Jonas commended the police for their management of the affair stating that the officers on duty were very professional in maintaining order and safety.
Save for a confrontation on a bus, which resulted in an arrest, there were no other offences reported up to press time. The police have not yet released an official report on the event.
At least two police vehicles drove in front of the procession, while several others travelled in between the vehicles and at the end.
Many of the participants in the whistle-stop donned red outfits, the colour associated with the ALP, while others carried flags and party paraphernalia.
The event concluded with a gathering at Clare Hall Triangle last evening.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)