Harold Lovell, Political Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), says the hike in petrol prices in Antigua and Barbuda seems like a punishment on the people.
On the weekend, Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced that fuel prices would be increased to more than $15 a gallon from today, March 14, or Tuesday, March 15.
But, anticipating this move by the Government, Lovell called for a freeze on current prices, last Thursday night, at his Party’s political rally in Radio Range.
He says that other measures can be put in place to ease the burden on consumers, especially motorists.
The Political Leader says that a UPP Administration would continue to absorb the fuel hikes like it did during the World Economic Crisis.
Lovell recalls that when the cost of fuel dropped as low as US$24 a barrel on the international market, the Browne Administration failed to pass on the savings to consumers by lowering local fuel prices.
Now, with the proposed hike, the people are being made to undergo further hardship, he says.
Responding to Lovell, Browne claims that the UPP Administration
“was getting free petroleum products from Venezuela during Lovell’s tenure as Finance Minister.”
He further accuses Lovell of passing on fuel increases by elevating the price at the pump, and says the UPP Political Leader’s promise is a “con.”
Lovell, in turn, dismisses the Prime Minister’s statements as “uninformed,” adding that he expects nothing better from “a man who has proven himself so out of ideas.”
Meantime, Lovell has also pledged to seek new fuel-subsidy arrangements with Venezuela or Trinidad and Tobago if elected.