Antigua PM says lockdowns are a luxury for the rich

(Antigua Newsroom) – Prime minister Gaston Browne says he is opposed to imposing another lockdown on Antigua and Barbuda, calling it a luxury for the rich.

“There is still hope to contain the virus to manageable levels protecting lives is our priority however we should not take any knee-jerk action to close the country down permanently create further problems,” Browne said.

“There are consequences to lockdown,” he said, adding, “if COVID-19 had taken place when I was a younger a youngster in this country and I had to remain on the lockdown I would literally starve to death.”

“So looking down the country could have serious consequences not only in terms of government’s revenues but the poor and the vulnerable you could literally push them over the edge … That could create some serious problems he are good.

“I am in a home that has many amenities can you imagine an individual in a home that have few amenities it is very difficult,” the prime minister added.

He said those who continue to push for us to lockdown the country, what I want to say to them is that we do not have the luxury of locking down the country for any extended period, that’s a type of luxury for the wealthy and it is primarily those who are well-off and who know they can survive this time and who knows they can survive this thing maybe for a couple of years are the ones most aggressive about the lockdown.

“They are not thinking about the consequences the impact on the mental health of individuals and even the survivability of the poor.”

Hope on the horizon

“Let us temperature the calls for a lockdown. I have never been a favorite of locking down, I think locking down has to be a last resort. Notwithstanding all of the musings and the recommendations that are being made, we respect people’s opinion but we also have to share the other side of the coin,” the Prime Minister said.

“What is important at this point is for us to remain resilient. We are almost there, we have to soldier on and we cannot give up now. This is the time for us to hold strain recognizing that the immunization will start next week and we will be in a position to immunize our front-line workers and some of the critical persons within the public sector”

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