On the backs of the poor

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Antiguans and Barbudans should be outraged at the heartless and disgraceful gasoline price increase foisted on the suffering people of this fair State, this past weekend. In a radio broadcast on his radio station this past Saturday, he of a high place announced that the price of gasoline will rise from $15.15 per gallon to an astonishing $17.50, as of today. Wow! Seems, poor people can’t get a break in this bitterly hard economy. Not that we were expecting much by way of a break from this poor-boast administration. Remember, this Antigua Barbuda Labour Party government obstinately refused to give the long-suffering poor of this country a stimulus during the egregiously hard times of the Covid-19 pandemic. They cluelessly joked about women using the stimulus to do their hair and their nails. The voting people of this country ought not to forget this administration’s insensitivity and callousness in that regard.

This administration has been teasing the working stiffs of this country with talk of a minimum wage increase since February of this year. Again, the operative word here is ‘talk’. We seriously doubt that anything more than ‘shop talk and ignorance’ has occurred with the supposed committee that was supposedly set up to supposedly discuss an increase in the minimum wage. All talk, but no action! The good minister responsible for Labour is infamous for that! Blah, blah, blah, yakety, yakety, yak, in the Queen’s finest English!

Of course, talk of a minimum wage increase was spurred by the announcement by the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) that upon assuming office, it would indeed look towards raising the minimum wage. Similarly, talk of a wage increase for public sector workers has been spurred by the upcoming elections, and the UPP’s promise to raise wages. This administration is desperately ‘cogging’ all the answers and the side-work. Such is its piteous state – desperately copying the UPP’s progressive, people-centric plans and ideas, in a naked attempt to extend its pathetic lease on life in office.

Anyway, since the catastrophic and laughable failure of its $200M bond offering, this administration has been casting about, every which where, in every which way, in a desperate attempt to shore up its coffers so that it can throw money around for this upcoming election. That is the bottom line for this administration – getting reelected so that the chicanery can continue for another season. Of course, after having ignored and let the people down so badly, these past eight years, the administration is hoping that the lure of filthy lucre will do the trick. It is a vain hope. So far, they seem not to be having much luck.

As you are very well aware, those in high places have subscribed to the pernicious notion that they ought never to let a crisis, or an opportunity to grandstand, or to exploit the poor, go to waste. They have done it time and again. For example, many workers in this country, were stiffed and shortchanged by this administration that speciously blamed the coronavirus pandemic for all its failures to make good on its debts to suffering workers. Similarly, they are now blaming the Russia/Ukraine war for everything. Good grief! The economy was already in a bad way even before that war broke out in February. The administration was already owing everybody, with little or no credible assurance as to when those owed would be made whole.

Meanwhile, as mentioned before, in a most sneaky manner, this administration socked us with another huge gas price hike, a sucker punch, if you will, because they never mentioned in the Cabinet notes of last week, that they were contemplating a hike. It is a blow to our gut, a hit on our wallets, and the administration’s hands are in our backpockets. Talk about a reverse Robin Hood! Instead of taking from the rich to give to the poor, this ne’r do well administration is robbing the poor. . . . This administration is hoping to keep the economy afloat on the backs and the sweat and tears of the poor. How sad!

There is a scripture – Proverbs 22:22 – which declares, “Do not rob the poor, just because you can; or exploit the needy . . .Do not oppress the poor because he is poor, neither crush the afflicted at the gate. . . “  Seems, even without the benefit of a Cabinet discussion, he of a high place has decided to rip-off the poor . . .  simply because he can. Sigh!

Folks, the time has come for us to remove this millstone from around our necks. Away with this yoke! We ought never to forget this vicious price hike. We ought never to forget how he blindsided us!

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