Throne Speech, Budget set for later this month

Prime Minister Gaston Browne
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By Kadeem Joseph

The Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister has confirmed the date of the 2021 Throne Speech and Budget presentation.

Lionel “Max” Hurst said Governor General Sir Rodney Williams will make the presentation in Parliament on January 15.

The speech, sometimes referred to as the Speech from the Throne, normally introduces the country to the legislative direction and goals for the year to come and outlines how it will work to achieve them.

Hurst told Observer the public can expect Sir Rodney to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Antigua and Barbuda and efforts being taken to mitigate against economic fall out seen in the past year among other things.

The gallery of the House is usually clad with public servants, students and supporters, while the floor seats both members of both the Upper and Lower House. However, Covid-19 pandemic protocols may force this to change.

Hurst said, however, limitations will be implemented in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gaston Browne is expected to deliver the much-anticipated 2021 Budget Speech two weeks later, on January 28.

In 2020, Browne delivered a $1.7 billion budget with Ministry of Education allocated the lion’s share at $151.6 million and the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Environment earmarked for the second largest allocation at $113.6 million.

However, it remains to be seen how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the government’s financial plans for 2020 and what it means for the health of the Antiguan and Barbudan economy going forward.

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