By Sandra Robinson-Weste
It is often said that a leopard cannot change its spots and Harold Lovell is a prime example of this adage.
In the late 2000s, Harold Lovell, as Finance Minister, and the United Progressive Party (UPP) proposed their first privatisation scheme – privatise state assets! Privatise State Insurance Corporation! Privatise the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA)! Privatise the management of Mount St. John’s Medical Centre! That was the UPP’s dangerous and risky plan.
Imagine what APUA would look like today if their operations were sold to those who are solely driven by profit for private investors. We would be seeing much higher electricity, water, and telephone rates and no forgiveness of electricity costs.
Like Br’er Leopard, Lovell is at it again ensuring his spots are clearly visible.
In a speech recently, he called for more government assets to be privatised. Lovell said that it would be so that Antiguans and Barbudans can own them. But do not believe him! Antiguans and Barbudans will not be able to spend enough money to buy shares that will allow them to control the company.
Instead, Lovell seeks to sell state assets to private foreign investors to do with them as they will. He is literally announcing this as a policy and trying to pretend that you will benefit. But guess what? Antiguans and Barbudans are not likely to be the majority of the shareholders in Lovell’s privatisation scheme – which will be open to anyone in the world to buy into.
It was Prime Minister Gaston Browne and the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) that fought against the UPP’s old dangerous privatisation scheme. And, it is up to YOU this time to stop the UPP’s privatisation plans. If you want to see state assets sold off with haste, then, vote UPP. But, if you want the government to work hard and leverage our assets to get the best deal possible for the people, put your X next to the flaming heart.
Lovell brought us to the IMF. He lost 10,000 jobs. He shrunk our economy by 25 percent, and now, this failed so-called captain is introducing a dangerous privatisation scheme that will sell out our country and put you at risk.
The UPP has not changed its spots. They have not changed their leader. And, they have not changed their philosophy.
We rejected them before, and we must reject them again – because they could not manage our country in the best of times for the global economy!
Keep the strong leadership of Gaston Browne and the ABLP working for us.