Stuart says Faithful Nationals picket is for ‘political gain’

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Democratic National Alliance (DNA) spokesperson on finance, Anthony Stuart, has added his voice to a growing number of people calling on the Faithful Nationals and Concerned Citizens coalition to stop their protests at Heritage Quay.

Stuart spoke on the matter with OBSERVER media yesterday, arguing that the Faithful Nationals and the United Progressive Party (UPP), which is a member of the coalition group, have been playing politics with the livelihood of businesses at the Quay.

“The DNA continues to admonish the Faithful Nationals – led by the United Progressive Party, Harold Lovell [Political Leader of the UPP] and Alister Thomas – who are insensitive to not disrupting economic activity. At the end of the day, the persons who will be most hurt [by the protests] will be the taxi drivers, store owners, vendors, hairdressers,” he said.

“I am calling on the Faithful Nationals to desist from having any further protests within the Heritage Quay area. It can only damage our tourism product, and no political organization should seek to hamper the economic livelihood for political gains,” he said, adding that if the Faithful Nationals want to protest they can do so at the Prime Minister’s Office or other government buildings.

Stuart called on the public to vote against the UPP if it continues with the Faithful Nationals to hold their protests in the Heritage Quay area.

“People are already suffering by the policies of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party, so why punish the poor and vulnerable people more?” he said.

Stuart’s comments came days after UPP member and taxi driver Gregory “Shoy” Athill also admonished the Faithful Nationals for protesting at Heritage Quay.

Athill, at the time, argued that the demonstrations have scared cruise tourists, causing some to remain on the ships and distracted others from exploring the country and spending money.

Additionally, president of the St. John’s Taxi Association, Patrick Burnette, said he personally spoke to some visitors who complained about the demonstrations.

The Faithful Nationals have protested at Heritage Quay on two occasions to raise awareness about what they describe as controversial decisions taken by the government.

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