Antigua is in "steady, safe hands" – Spencer

NEW YORK, United States, Monday September 30, 2013, CMC – Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer says the collapse of the Trinidad-based insurance conglomerate, CLICO, and the Stanford Group of companies, has resulted in more than EC$400 million (One EC dollar = US$0.37 cents) “disappearing like a puff of smoke from the economy”.

But Spencer told nationals residing in North America over the weekend that Antigua and Barbuda continues to be in “steady and safe hands” under his leadership.

Spencer, who is been in the United States attending the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), spoke of the many challenges faced by countries in the Caribbean region, including Antigua and Barbuda, and concluded that despite the additional challenges faced by his country, the economy remains on a firm footing.

“You are familiar with our home grown system of revitalizing the economy in the wake of a worldwide recession and the double punch created by the collapse of the Stanford Group of Companies and the failure of CLICO (Colonial Life Insurance Company) and BAICO (British American Insurance Company).

“To put all of this into dollar perspective and I must do so, because many underestimate the effects on the Antigua and Barbuda economy as a result of the collapse of these two companies. Imagine over $400 million dollars disappearing like a puff of smoke from the economy. 

“Also imagine another EC$230.2 million simply disappearing from the economy at the same time. These were the results of the collapse, in addition to over 1,200 persons waking up one morning on the unemployment line,” he told the nationals at town hall meetings here.

But Prime Minister Spencer, however, said that despite “this triple threat combination of the global recession and the collapse of the two companies, unlike other countries within the region, we were able to avoid some of the more severe fiscal policies that others pursued”.

He said his ruling United Progressive Party (UPP) administration has not reduced the salaries and wages of public servants nor retrenched public workers.

“We did not disband our social programs, others did.  We did not reduce government pensions, others did.  We did not cut or eliminate essential services, others did,” Spencer said.

“Antigua and Barbuda is in steady and safe hands as we continue our efforts to improve the social and economic conditions of all citizens and residents in these challenging times,” he added.

The Antiguan Prime Minister urged nationals in the United States to continue supporting their homeland and engage the government “in an effort to ensure the continuous development of the country”. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)