Caribbean leaders are paying attention to the developments in neighbouring country St. Lucia whose Prime Minister Allen Chastanet announced last week that the country ‘was broke’ and could not afford to further subsidize its Covid-19 stimulus programme.
This week, the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda reaffirmed their opposition to the St. Lucia route. In notes released by the Office of the Prime Minister in Antigua, the government said:
“The Cabinet learned of the dire situation in which St. Lucia has found itself. The Prime Minister of St. Lucia has indicated that the government is out of money. One of the most successful small states in the Middle East, the country of Dubai, has indicated that in six months it will also run-out of money to fund government.”
“The Covid-19 global pandemic is the sole cause of the global decline in economic activity, as countries close their borders or impose severe conditions for entry into their territories.”
“The movement of people, goods and investments has been slowed significantly, adversely affecting employment, government revenues, and once-successful enterprises.”
“In Antigua and Barbuda, the Cabinet made the decision to invest the scarce resources available; to keep every public employee on the payroll; and NOT to fritter away the revenues by handouts of stimuli money, as proposed by others.”
“The Antigua and Barbuda formula is working. Nevertheless, many private contractors and service-providers have been receiving a fraction of the monies owed, because of the decline in revenue collection.”