ST. JOHNS, Antigua, January 8, 2022- As Antiguans prepare to go to the polls to elect a new government on Wednesday January 18, the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), has published its campaign manifesto highlighting its seven pillars for relief, recovery and shared prosperity for Antiguans should the party be elected.
According to the UPP, the manifesto “is our policy program. In it, we capture the most important plans we have for this country’s development and our people’s prosperity. Our Manifesto presents to you our vision for the future and what we intend to get done in these five years to realize that vision.”
Under its first pillar, it will create a Vision 2040 National Master Plan where,through a robust consultation process, create a shared National Vision and Strategic Plan to transform and modernize Antigua and Barbuda by 2040.
Its second pillar surrounds job creation and expanding the economy by way of “Tourism and the branding of Antigua and Barbuda as a destination for exclusive Tourism and exclusive products.
It also includes the creation of new industries in the areas of agribusiness, high-end tourism, sea island cotton production and manufacturing. It will also create a niche international banking center that will include digitization of the financial system, cryptocurrency, etc.”
Pillar Number 3 embodies “Housing Security” for citizens which will give dignity to low-income families and empower middle-income families through a bold new home ownership program “Homes for You” using three pathways to home ownership: Rent to Own, Buyer Assist and Community Construct.”
The UPP’s fourth Pillar entitled “Education Revolution,” puts forward Education as a Right, where, “In light of the changing global job market, we will create an environment where every citizen and resident is adequately educated and trained to seize the opportunities of today. Create an education system to match the shared National Vision and Strategic Plan. Train a modern workforce to deliver the National Vision. Education relief from pre-K to tertiary level.”
Under the fifth pillar entitled Economic Dignity, the UPP says it will “put more money back into the pockets of every citizen and resident by increasing wages, lowering the cost of living and ensuring the availability of sufficient well paying jobs for every able bodied individual.”
Pillar 6 features water stability, sound infrastructure and clean environment.”The new UPP Government will leverage the latest technologies and most prudent management practices to solve the deficiencies in our water supply, roads and other critical infrastructure.”
Pillar 7, the final of its seven pillars for relief, recovery and shared prosperity, the UPP says its Government will make bold and unprecedented moves to boost the participation of youth in both economic prosperity and decision-making.
Under other areas of its Manifesto the UPP says it will introduce “People First” measures to lower the cost of living by way of:
- Reduce the prices of food by reducing customs duty on essential food items, including salted fish, pickled meats, breakfast cereals, cooking oil and others.
- Reduce the cost of construction by reducing customs duty on building materials produced outside Caricom.
- Repeal the Unincorporated Business Tax (UBT) and replace it with a flat fee based on the business size.
- Negotiate special fuel arrangements with oil producing nations like Venezuela, Trinidad, Guyana,etc.
- Pass on savings when the world oil price is low, enabling consumers to enjoy fair gas and electricity prices.
- Immediately lower electric bills by adjusting the fuel variation charge as the cost of fuel goes down.
- Make strategic investments in new solar power electricity generation that will result in the reduction of electricity bills.
- Encourage community wind and solar power generation to bring down the cost of electricity.
- Make access to cheap renewable energy easy by partnering with credit institutions to equip over 10,000 small homes across the island with solar panels. APUA bills will be reduced by solar power generation.