ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Outrightly dismissing the assertion that the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) is planning to bribe Barbudans by offering to pay workers if central government fails to do so by Thursday, the party’s candidate on the sister isle has strongly condemned any possible criticism of the decision.
The ALP is seeking to pressure the ruling United Progressive Party (UPP) administration to pay Barbuda Council employees before this week’s Caribana festivities begin. But Arthur Nibbs said the suggestion that his party is planning to bribe the electorate there was “utter foolishness.”
Nibbs said the Barbudan people need the help.
“The people are in need of money and if the government is unable, or unwilling or don’t want to pay the money and we find the resources, how can you say that is bribery?” he queried.
The ultimatum was issued on Saturday night by ALP Leader Gaston Brown who challenged the government to pay half a million dollars by this Thursday, or the ALP will pay it. Caribana is scheduled to be launched on Friday.
Browne said the ALP proposal is in the interest of the people.
The designated half million dollar payout would cover one month’s remuneration for salaried workers and one week’s pay for those receiving wages.
Nibbs had indicated the council’s payroll is running more than 10 weeks in arrears, which translates to over $3 million being owed to workers there.
Caribana is expected to run from June 6 to 9.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)