Just mere hours after news broke that CARICOM and Dominican Republic Nations will not require work permits in Antigua and Barbuda, the United Progressive Party has responded, saying it is gratified but awaits implementation.
The government said on Saturday afternoon that consistent with its obligations under Articles 45 and 46, clauses 2 (iii) and 3 of the CARICOM Treaty, has decided to eliminate the requirement for work permits for nationals of CARICOM Community countries who are gainfully employed in Antigua and Barbuda, effective January 1st, 2023.
The Government also decided that, in keeping with Antigua and Barbuda’s commitment to the economic integration of the Caribbean region, the elimination of work permits for persons who are gainfully employed, will be extended to people from the Dominican Republic.
And in a swift response, United Progressive Party Harold Lovell, said he is gratified to see the Browne Administration adopt another of the Party’s plans.
“That decision, which is contained within the UPP’s “One Caribbean” policy, was announced right after the New Year opened; carried in the press on Tuesday; and ventilated by Lovell on Thursday night at the political rally held in the City East constituency,” Lovell recalled.
Lovell said its adoption by the Labour Party Government is accepted by the UPP as validation of its Political Leader’s vision and ideas and proof that it is the UPP that is poised to take this country to an elevated level.
“It proves, as well, that the UPP’s policies will NOT bankrupt the country, as the ALP contends, since the Browne Administration already has adopted our proposals on fuel-price reductions and a revision of the minimum wage, albeit in disappointing quantum,” according to the UPP’s political leader.
But Lovell said, despite the ALP Government’s declaration, that these categories of residents will be exempted from requiring work permits, the UPP has its reservations about its implementation of the policy.
“Residents will recall that, on the eve of the 2018 General Election, Prime Minister Gaston Browne claimed he would remove the payment of ABST from eyeglasses and funeral expenses. To date, however, this has not been done,” Lovell said in a statement Sunday morning.
Adding, “further, the memories of how the non-national community was used in previous elections – only to be deprived of the six-month work-permit waiver promised in 2014 and then rewarded with a sudden and brutal hike in work-permit and Extension-Form fees after 2018 – have not faded”.
Furthermore, the UPP said it hopes that the ALP Government has not filched Mr. Lovell’s plans simply to deceive these members of the immigrant community and secure votes by dishonesty.