By Robert A. Emmanuel
The Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) and the United Progressive Party (UPP) have both launched their manifestos, and both political parties have placed specific focus on the sister island, Barbuda.
For example, in its manifesto, the ABLP focused on what it described as its achievements during its administration, stating “it is difficult to believe that Barbuda, as it exists today, was completely decimated in 2017”.
The manifesto stated, “The Barbudan residents are living in new or greatly refurbished homes … a modern airport is being constructed, a world class 18-hole golf course has been laid, and a major luxury resort is being built by Peace, Love and Happiness (PLH).”
The document also highlighted the construction of a multi-million dollar resort by actor Robert De Niro and billionaire businessman James Packer, and the rebuilding of a cargo port.
The manifesto also expressed that Barbuda is “being developed [into a] green, organic island”.
“The amount of investment … including the installation of a broadband sub-sea cable, will encourage the use of information communication technology high-speed internet and artificial intelligence that will take the island to the next higher level,” it stated.
Meanwhile, in its manifesto, the UPP promised that it “will work with the Barbuda Council to build a stronger, safer, greener, more sustainable and more resilient Barbuda”.
Among some of the policy proposals stated in its manifesto, the opposition party said that it would “encourage the Barbuda Council to lead an initiative called Barbuda 2050” which will plan for “rapid yet sustainable future development”, and the establishment of a “Joint Consultative Committee composed of experienced Antiguan and Barbudan leaders headed by the Prime Minister”.
In addition, the UPP stated that it would rebuild Barbuda with green technology-based infrastructure by installing a wind farm and expanding solar power production to diversify the generation of renewable energy on the island.
Additionally, the party reiterated its push for the repeal of the 2017 Barbuda Land (Amendment) Act, a major point of contention between the two main political parties.
Speaking at the UPP’s press conference on Monday, Political Leader Harold Lovell stated that the party will be working with current project developers on the sister island, like PLH, and the Barbuda Council to decide on a more sustainable path forward.
“We are not going to reach anywhere … if we adopt an adversarial stance … it would be our approach to sit with the various stakeholders, including the Barbuda Council and the major investors, and work out a method whereby development can take place with full regard to any concerns that may arise under the laws of Antigua and Barbuda,” Lovell said.
He also articulated that the Department of the Environment would be integral to the planning of an economic policy for the sister island.