The Leader of the Opposition Jamal Pringle broke record on Wednesday, being the only member of Parliament to spend over three hours to rebut the budget
Parliamentarians are debating the national budget and Pringle; in his first official response wasted no time about his true feelings about the $1.8 Billion budget presented by Prime Minister Gaston Browne last week.
He said it failed to outline measures to ease the squeeze on regular citizens, dropping short of addressing the disadvantages of the private sector and small business owners.
“The time has come for the government to reset its policies on how it approaches the private sector. The business sector is complaining bitterly that they need some breathing space because they cannot function properly” …Pringle said.
He said if the government allows the private sector to function, the government will be able to reduce the wage bill “because the private sector will be the driver of the economy…but in the absences of a robust private sector, the government is doing the employing…how can we sustain this,” he said.
An infrastructure development plan for the country is also missing according to Pringle.
“We need to look seriously at our communities. We need to look at our sporting facilities and we need to upgrade them. We need to show the young people of this country that you care, that you are looking out for the future,” he added.
The Opposition leader, who is also the Parliamentary Representative for All Saints East and St Luke said Antigua and Barbuda boasts of having a buoyant tourism sector, but if this is to remain true, the infrastructure in the country must be addressed.
“The time has come for us to look seriously about where we are going and how we will get there. We have to plug a lot of the holes that exists within certain aspects of some organizations,” he added.
Pringle said the budget also failed to address some pertinent areas of development like the public cemetery, the Urlings Business Park and the Aquatic Center at Tomlinson’s.
“These are things that we need to know about. We have seen funds diverted to the ministry of health to deal with the cemetery…the CIP monies were moved…so how is it we have not heard anything and it’s a new term. They must give an account” Pringle added.