The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ALP) is alarmed by the news that on Monday night, July 4, 2011, a seventh murder was perpetrated in Antigua and Barbuda in this year. This puts the number of murders in the state at seven in seven months.
Antigua and Barbuda has become more violent as more hardship, more frustration, more conflict is being experienced within families and between friends and strangers, since 2004, the year when the United Progressive Party (UPP) became the government.
The economic deprivation, the poverty, and growing unemployment have made life in Antigua and Barbuda the most difficult in its recent history, but certainly in 60 years. The ALP continues to connect violent crime, especially with the use of illegal firearms, as the most accurate reflection of the poor performance of the Antigua and Barbuda economy. Angry young men, unemployed and with little prospect of relief, are unleashing their fury on innocent victims. The Royal Police Force cannot solve this growing challenge, only the governing party.
The UPP, led by Mr. Spencer and Finance Minister Harold Lovell, having failed in its promise to bring investments and jobs to Antigua and Barbuda, will not take responsibility for their failures. They blamed civil servants, the police, the opposition, and circumstances outside of their control for the parlous state of the government’s finances and the absence of jobs for hundreds of school-leavers. The UPP has failed miserably to generate economic growth; in fact, the economy of Antigua and Barbuda has contracted in 2009 and 2010, and will likely experience negative growth in 2011, or for a third consecutive year.
The youthful offenders who fill the lone prison in Antigua causing cells to be occupied by as many as 10 prisoners, is clear evidence that a plague of crime is threatening the security and well-being of homes, businesses, hotels and even public events. The killing of Monday night, July 5, 2011, was inflicted by a firearm while the victim was walking along the All Saints highway. The previous two victims were killed by robbers who also chose to use firearms to shoot at innocent fathers.
Antigua and Barbuda is in a state of rapid economic decline and increased criminal activities. Burglaries, break-ins, larceny and violent robberies are on the increase. Lay-offs, decreased work days weekly, reductions in pay, and other methods being utilized by businesses to survive, are pushing hundreds of families deep into poverty and frustrating young unemployed, especially. The UPP regime has no solutions. It is time for the UPP to seek a new mandate, for it is evident that it no longer enjoys the majority’s support.