The government will be taking a hard-line stance to deal with the vexing issue of parking in the city of St John’s with the introduction of parking fees for business owners and others, and charges for people who park in no-parking zones.
Minister of Legal Affairs, Public Safety, Immigration, and Labour Steadroy Benjamin made that disclosure Tuesday during his contribution to the 2023 budget debate.
The minister explained the government will be assigning certain areas for persons with disabilities and for those who have paid for parking.
“We have had many complaints from the banks, many complaints from businesses that because people are parking on the roads, they are unable to access their parking spot.
“We are going to make sure that parking is paid for yearly, ECD $1200 per year. You reserve your parking spot and persons who breach that will be charged,” Benjamin said.
Those wishing to have designated parking will be required to apply in writing to the Police Commissioner indicating the reasons for said application and the precise location.
The minister said the restrictions will be enforced as of next month.
He also reminded motorists that cellular phone use while driving remains a ticket able offense indicating that those who continue to break the law will be dealt with.
Benjamin also used his presentation to make the case for Antigua and Barbuda to become a republic calling all parliamentarians to support the call while also renewing the call for a referendum to replace the London-based Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Barbados is the only country in the region that has officially removed Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and become the world’s newest republic.
As it relates to the CCJ citizens voted in a referendum in 2018 rejecting the regional court.
The Legal Affairs Minster also touched on the troubling issue of school violence appealing to members on both sides of the political divide to work along with the government to address the issue.
The minister stated that Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney has been given the task to establish a committee comprising people from the schools, youth organizations, and the church to examine the issue and implement appropriate measures.
A revision of the national minimum wage every two years, and a restructuring of the Immigration Department and Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda is also on the cards, the minister said.
“We have to get immigration running properly, it is the way we make money,” Benjamin explained, revealing that a team of experts has been employed to facilitate the process.
In the same vein, he commended the officers for their work and encourage them to continue to remain committed to duty.