The opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) and the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) pilloried Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his administration in their new year messages as they jostle to establish themselves as the saviour of the Antigua and Barbuda people. In what is widely believed to be an election year – the polls are constitutionally due next year – UPP political leader Harold Lovell, and his DNA counterpart, Joanne Massiah, did not mince words in castigating Browne’s stewardship.
Both launched off with recitals of what they termed the government’s failures, particularly on the economic and security fronts. “Many of us are uneasy about the increase in crime, economic stability, erosion of the social safety net and the neglect of our Barbudan brothers and sisters since the passage of Hurricane Irma, almost four months ago,” Lovell said.
He also noted the loss of visa-free access to Canada because of dubious citizenship approvals which he said undermined the integrity of the Citizenship by Investment Programme. “As if these international challenges were not enough to wound our national pride and crush our spirits, citizens and residents are still struggling to come to terms with the 21 murders in 2017, a record number for our peaceful nation.”
According to Lovell, the UPP has developed a 10- point security and crime fighting plan which integrates “community policing, technology and international best practices.” “The UPP has been hard at work. We have taken the time to listen to the people. We have heard your concerns. We have listened to your suggestions. We have done the research and have reviewed international best practices, and we are ready to redeem Antigua and Barbuda, and we will restore pride and prosperity when we form the government again,” Lovell vowed.
Meanwhile, according to Massiah, the poor performance of the Browne administration is well documented.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)