Government Senator Philip Shoul has exposed the claims made by the UPP’s
senators in the Upper House about the cost-of-living in the country as being
unrealistic and which amount to nothing more than ‘empty promises’.
Speaking in the Senate on the 2023 National Budget debate, Sen. Shoul noted that
there seemed to have been a theme running through the presentation by the
opposition senators, related to the cost-of-living and suggesting that this was the
However, in a deliberate and painstaking presentation, Shoul produced data which
showed clearly, that the rise in the cost of living had nothing to do with the
government of Antigua and Barbuda and in fact, it was the result of inflation
internationally, that is currently affecting major economies such as the United
States and Europe.
To support his presentation, he produced the figures comparing the cost of fuel
(gasoline and diesel) in Antigua and Barbuda compared with the other
neighbouring islands. “I heard Sen. Nicholas talking about lowering fuel prices
because they thrive on the suffering of the people of Antigua and Barbuda. All
their presentations so far, focused on the ‘suffering’ of the people of the country. I
just want people to understand two things; one is that the price of oil on the world
market (Tuesday’s price: US$75.00 per barrel) is not cheap as has been claimed
and secondly, it has been at that price for a long time. Additionally, if the
government was to purchase this ‘cheap’ oil, as was suggested by an opposition
senator, where will we store it?” he asked.
He went on to present the price of fuel across the OECS as produced by the
Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.
Anguilla Gasoline $15.79 Diesel $16.73
Antigua and Barbuda Gasoline $13.99 Diesel $14.25
Dominica Gasoline $14.96 Diesel $13.84
Grenada Gasoline $15.31 Diesel $16.27
Montserrat Gasoline $17.66 Diesel $15.79
St Kitts-Nevis Gasoline $14.29 Diesel $19.89
St. Lucia Gasoline $17.00 Diesel $17.00
St Vincent and the Grenadines Gasoline $15.06 Diesel $16.37
Senator Shoul also noted that not only are fuel prices in Antigua and Barbuda
cheaper than the neighbouring islands, but the government also subsidises the
prices for bus drivers, fishermen and taxis.
Speaking about other prices, he explained that chicken, for example, has been
higher in both the US and Brazil where most of the supplies originate. He noted
that the prices for all the factors of production have increased, and where there
may be a price drop, the suppliers have deliberately reduced production.
He further explained that the majority of these items are already zero-rated,
meaning that they attract no taxes, so removing the taxes would not help. He
also revealed that the Antigua and Barbuda ‘basket of items’ that are zero-rated
or where the taxes are reduced amount to a whopping 189 items.