Government will not bow to the demands of a “weak opposition,” to lower the cost of gasoline and electricity.
Political leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) is demanding the ABLP administration lower the price of gasoline from $12.50 to $10 per gallon and the fuel variation charge from 60 cents to 24 cents per kilowatt hour, or face protest action.
But, Government Chief of Staff Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst said Lovell knows that this type of ultimatum does not work.
“There is no way in the world that government is going to appear to be bending to the demands of a weak opposition.
“We had an election 18 months ago, and Mr Lovell himself couldn’t win his seat. The Labour Party won 14 of the 17 seats and Mr Spencer barely won his by 30.
“They are very weakened, and what’s more is that the economy is performing well. There is growth,” Max said.
Hurst said Lovell’s comparison that Antigua & Barbuda’s energy ranks highest within the sub-region is misleading.
He said Antiguans and Barbudans continue to enjoy the highest income amongst the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank countries.
“Antigua has higher cost of living and higher standards of living, and people in Antigua earn far more than they earn in any of these countries that he has named.
“Antigua & Barbuda brings in more than 25 per cent of the foreign currency earned by ECCB…we are the leaders and we have done exceptionally well,” Hurst added.
Lovell said the government has until Sunday to reduce the fuel cost or deal with continued protest.
Hurst said the ABLP administration is not shaken by this request.
The cost of electricity will go down because we know manufacturing cannot succeed unless the cost of energy is exceedingly low,” he added.