Editorial Staff
3 months ago

Editorial Staff
3 months ago

Governor General emphasized government’s economic focus in Throne’s Speech.

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Governor General Sir Rodney Williams

In his annual Throne Speech, Governor General Sir Rodney Williams highlighted the government’s efforts towards becoming a strong economic powerhouse.

He said the government waived nearly EC$300 million in taxes in 2022 and a similar amount in 2023 by waiving Customs Duty, the ABST, the Revenue Recovery Charge, and the Environmental Levy.

However, the Governor General mentioned that the government intends to reduce discretionary waivers to increase tax yields.

According to him, this will help meet the additional obligations of pensions, salaries and wage increases negotiated with trade unions.

Sir Rodney also spoke about the government’s foreign policy, highlighting the significant returns it has yielded for Antigua and Barbuda.

He talked about the government’s relations with countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the People’s Republic of China have been fruitful, with these countries providing various forms of support such as scholarships, training opportunities for civil servants, and security training.

The government has also been working towards providing affordable housing for its citizens, Sir Rodney said, highlighting that the National Housing and Urban Renewal Company and the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHAPA) have constructed more than 2,000 units so far, and many more are forthcoming.

The government has set high standards for these housing projects, with the support of the People’s Republic of China, he said in Parliament today

Finally, the Governor General mentioned the government’s efforts to transform the unused car park at the top of High Street into a more useful structure.

Additionally, the House of Culture, which was once the parliament building, is also in the cards for completion. The government intends to restore it to its former glory as soon as resources allow.

During the Throne’s Speech, Sir Rondey also announced that the government has made significant improvements in the tourism sector.

He praised the Minister of Tourism for his exceptional performance, which resulted in a significant increase in the arrival numbers to Antigua and Barbuda. According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Minister was declared the best performing Minister of Tourism in the region.

The growth in tourism is a result of deliberate investments and the government’s pursuit of growth objectives, he said

In just one year, Sir Rodney recalled that more than 750,000 cruise passengers and over 350,000 overnight tourists have arrived in the destination.

The government’s relationship with Global Ports Holding and the construction of a fifth berth in St. John’s Harbour have contributed significantly to this growth, he said.

The expansion of Barbuda’s PLH and the addition of luxury accommodations on its shores will boost the economy, and the replacement of the K-Club property with another high-end property, the doubling of the size of the NOBU Restaurant, and other hotel projects on the planning board for Barbuda are sure to result in increased tourism throughout the State, Sir Rodney said

Furthermore, he said the Citizenship by Investment Program (C.I.P.) has proven to be a significant non-tax-revenue contributor that provides resources for social security recipients, the C.B.H.

And, Beautification Project, and meeting unexpected expenses.

The C.I.P. is a testament to the wisdom of the City West Parliamentary Representative, who introduced the idea to the Parliament, and the courage of the previous administration who turned it into law in 2013, he remarked

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