Diaspora distrusts the Browne administration – MP Massiah

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Independent MP Joanne Massiah says the Antigua and Barbuda government’s plan to raise monies from the diaspora to help finance its budget deficit is likely to fail because the people do not trust the administration. Her comments came during debate on the 2018 budget estimates on Monday in parliament. Prime Minister Gaston Browne had announced, during his budget speech, that a diaspora bond would be one of the means they will use to make up the $448 million budget shortfall.
Bantering with Browne during her presentation, Massiah recalled that he had made a similar announcement in 2016 which failed to materialise, a point the PM acknowledged. In 2016 Browne had announced that the government would explore the use of diaspora bonds and other means to help fund its development plans. “I believe you mean it in your heart. You know that you want to run a transparent government. I believe you believe it, but it nuh happening,” Massiah said.
According to the All Saints East and St. Luke representative, the government’s “Jekyll and Hyde” approach to handling the Barbuda restoration funds had undermined the diaspora’s trust in it. “A big part of this is a trust issue you know, and I know you say some people are being mischievous out there, contacting all kind of international newspaper and saying all kinds of things, but it is a trust issue.
“And because of how things are not running in this country, the people in the diaspora who would ordinarily have money to invest … said they don’t trust you,” Massiah declared. The government has said that the accounts relating to the Barbuda funds are being audited and a full accounting will be presented at the appropriate time.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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