St John’s – The two main political parties have released their manifestos ahead of the January 18 general elections, outlining policies for future socio-economic development and security of Antigua and Barbuda over the next five years.
Both the ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) and the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) released their respective documents at events held on Monday and Tuesday, outlining plans for job creation, developing inter-regional transportation, leveraging technology for development and implementing policies for youth development.
In addition, both parties, seeking to gain control of the 17 seats in the Parliament, have outlines plans to further develop the medical, education and the tourism sectors among others.
“My personal vision for our nation is that it should be an economic powerhouse, which drives robust growth and sustainable development to achieve developed country living standards,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.
Browne, who is leading the ABLP into a third general election, said “that is why our steering our affairs to the next level of progress and prosperity is my driving ambition.
“Every Antiguan and Barbudan has a right to a better, more productive, healthy and happy life,” Browne, said, adding that the ABLP has guided the process “by which our country has been uplifted despite arduous circumstances.
“It has the experience, knowledge and vision to continue our people’s advancement to new heights,” Browne said, adding that “in this manifesto, we lay out our plans for the “next level” of development under the theme “Next level of Progressive and Prosperity for All”.
“They are all achievable with strong, capable and experienced and experienced government,” Browne added.
But UPP Leader, Harold Lovell said one of the major policy proposals of the party, if it is elected to government, will be to repeal and replace the Unincorporated Business Tax (UBT) and the incremental reduction of the corporate income tax from 25 to 15 per cent.
Lovell said that fiscal policy must have an underlying philosophy behind it, and that the proposal will increase the government’s revenue.
“The strategy and philosophy are that we must drive the private sector in Antigua and Barbuda, we must create dynamic local economy. We must encourage people to invest and to protect people who take the decision to invest,” said Lovell.
“This manifesto reflects the change that the people want to see and was pulled together based on consultations with the people over the past two years,” Lovell said, adding “ABLP does not want change because the system works for them.
“This manifesto demonstrates that UPP is on your side and we are determined to bring “Relief, Recovery and Shared Prosperity” to all citizens and residents,” said Lovell, a former finance minister. (CMC)