Protestors line street to decry fuel price hike, water shortage, cost of living

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Organisers of yesterday’s demonstration applauded the turnout (Photos by Observer’s Carlena Knight)
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Dozens of protestors braved early morning rainfall to line the street outside the Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday morning, calling for an immediate change in government as they voiced their frustration with a number of issues.

Among the myriad topics raised were the high cost of living, increases in food and fuel prices, the lack of functioning fire trucks to service the country, and inconsistent supplies of water.

“I running taxi from since ’96 and it’s the worst I ever see with a so-called man they call prime minister in this country,” one frustrated taxi driver told Observer.

“We need to get rid of him because, imagine, I work for $15 [per trip]and I have to put 70 cents more for gas and right now me can’t buy food, me can’t go supermarket. This is the first time I have ever been into a picket and will be into a march if they have [one] too,” he said.

A mother-of-two echoed the taxi driver’s comments while sharing her challenges in providing for her children as the cost of living continues to increase.

A Coolidge resident, who also spoke to Observer, highlighted the lack of water in her community.

She said it is unacceptable for her and fellow villagers to only receive water “maybe once every two weeks or week and a half”.

She also spoke to last week’s gas price increase.

“How much more can we, the people, take in this country? Pressure is on us in every corner. One of these days they are going to kill us. Tell them tek them foot off arwe neck, we can’t breathe!

“We need to speak up and this is what we are saying to them and why we are here. You mean to tell me in this country we only have one fire truck? Man, Antigua is burning, Antigua is burning. It’s time for this administration to go,” the woman added.

Meanwhile, one of the picket’s organisers – United Progressive Party candidate for St John’s City South, Franz deFreitas, – said the turnout was very encouraging.

“It’s definitely encouraging for me to see so many people standing up in the rain, to see the people coming out and standing up, defending their constitutional right to talk about the issues of the increase in fuel price, the lack of water in Antigua and Barbuda, and the absence of adequate fire tenders to be able to defend our homes when they are on fire.

“I am encouraged that people are starting to see that only when they stand up can the government pay attention to them, so I am heartened by that,” deFreitas added.

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