Manifesto Update: Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party highlights priority sectors for medium-term
Picture Courtesy: ABLP facebook
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Antigua and Barbuda: The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) recently launched its party manifesto for the upcoming elections in 2023, which will be held on January 18. The manifesto was launched under the leadership of Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne. It shared information about various plans and policies of the ABLP-led government and also shared highlights of the workings of the political party.

While sharing an update about the priority sectors medium-term, the political party stated that the plans and policies of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party ahead would be as follows:

Water: To complete the build-out of the water supply system so that from early in 2023, water will not be an issue.

Tourism: To enhance the tourism product to International competitiveness and transform Barbuda into a green, low-tourism destination with improved linkages to sport, agriculture, and healthcare services, including stem cells and cannabis therapies.

Education: To continue to expand education at all levels, from the cradle to the grave, including early childhood, technical and vocational, and university education. Explore opportunities to establish additional medical schools.

Health: To implement key policies and strategies such as the National Policy and Action Plan for the Prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. Establish renal and cardiac centres and promote medical tourism initiatives.

Blue Economy: To develop a national ocean policy that is aligned with the Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy. Explore export opportunities in the fishing, yachting, and shipping sectors. Also, exploit rights to access Antigua and Barbuda’s maritime jurisdiction and monetise its oceanic resources.

Agriculture: To increase surface water for irrigation links to grow food and build food security. In addition, strategies will be implemented to facilitate the resilience of the agricultural sector from the impact of Climate Change. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people turned to farming. Backyard gardens were turned into farms, and existing farms increased their production. The ABLP government has incentivised farmers by subsidising water costs by 25%. To make sure some degree of food security, the ABLP administration will increase the subsidy by the upcoming year while feasibility studies are conducted on sustainable and affordable means of water supply. The ABLP government is committed to continuing working with the farming as well as fishing communities to utilise modern technology to increase production and earnings with links to supermarkets, hotels, and restaurants.

Our government will also invest with local farmers and fishermen by taking a redeemable equity stake in their businesses. The ABLP will also establish a Chicken Abattoir to benefit farmers and consumers.

Creative Arts: The ABLP government will open a Performing Arts Centre at the site of the old Deluxe Cinema in St John’s, which it purchased to provide the nation with its first National Theatre and Concert Hall. The hall will have up to 1,000 seats on the ground floor and galleries.

It will be used for performances of plays, musical events, and poetry readings by both local groups and visiting foreign artists, including orchestras.

The facility will also be utilised to build a National Orchestra and to facilitate the growth of professional musicians, actors, directors, producers, and designers of costumes and stage sets. The Performing Arts Centre will be the face of the forum for artistic development as well as expression – and entertainment in the Next Level development of music and drama productions.

Sports: To expand national programmes and facilities to foster talent and potential benefits for young people, including the operationalisation of a new aquatic centre with an appropriate size international swimming pool.

The centre will accommodate a 25-meter, 10-lane competition pool with a warm-up pool, a gym, two spectator stands with a capacity of 600-member and facilities for competitors (both male and female). Cricket is our national game, and our cricketing heroes brought fame for Antigua and Barbuda and pride to every citizen. The ABLP government will continue to promote Cricket, giving our young men and women the opportunity to earn more money in the regional and international premier leagues while restoring our West Indian Cricket teams to the top of the game.

Football, athletics, netball, basketball, baseball, and other sports will continue to receive attention. Additionally, the ABLP government will construct a multi-purpose, well-equipped indoor Sports centre that will prepare our young people for success in regional and international competition.