If the Leader of the Opposition Jamal Pringle had his way, residents would be allowed to pay their respects to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and still be permitted to work.
Monday was declared a national holiday, as declared by the government to observe the funeral service of the late Queen but Pringle said the decision was made in haste, without considering local businesses.
Pringle said instead, the government should have given time to those who want to participate in the church service and parade.
“I don’t think this holiday was necessary. Yet we all acknowledged the death and all expressed our condolences to the Royal family however at this point coming out of Covid where quite a several local businesses took a hard hit. To have another national holiday is a blow in the rib of local businesses,” he said.
He said while the government may have taken an “emotional” decision, they did not think about the rational.
Furthermore, Pringle said the local man has not been getting the level of support required to survive, further justifying reasons why a national holiday today is not necessary.
“From our interaction with many of the small businesses around Antigua and Barbuda, they just don’t get the level of support they need to take them the extra mile that’s why we embarked on a mission that every Saturday we go into communities to support them. These are initiatives we must look at to enhance our local business sector. You are not finding these means coming from the government,” he said
In Pringle’s opinion, the government continues to stifle local businesses, and Monday’s holiday according to him twisted the knife.
“From every turn, the government continuously put businesses under pressure with the decisions they make and they are not putting anything in place to alleviate the burdens of these businesses,” he added
Furthermore, Pringle said coming from the Covid-19 pandemic, everything should be done to ensure that not a day is lost.
“Businesses are still not over Covid. They lost so much money during the pandemic. Another holiday? I mean some businesses recently reopened and they are going to either pay their workers double or lose a day. We cannot continue to look at things one-sided. We need to try our best to look out for our locals and this is what we are not seeing in Antigua and Barbuda today” he said.
The whole idea behind the holiday according to the Cabinet is to allow residents to attend the special service held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. in honor of the Queen.