By Robert A. Emmanuel
Governor General Sir Rodney Williams is expected to present the Throne Speech today as the government will announce its priorities for the upcoming year.
The Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) regained control of the government and Parliament last month by a slim margin after just getting the required nine seats.
With a stronger minority in Parliament and a reduced Cabinet, the Throne Speech will outline some of the legislative priorities for the ABLP as they seek to navigate the uncharted political waters for the ABLP.
Among some of the major issues for the new government would be developing the economy in the post-pandemic environment, addressing the rise in violence among school children, developing a consensus to regional air travel, as well as Haiti, the war in Ukraine and its effects on the Caribbean.
The Throne Speech will also serve as an opportunity for the government to laud itself for its accomplishments over the last 12 months.
Last year, the challenge of Covid-19 was top of the government’s list, along with tackling climate change, increasing water supply and food production, and improving the state of the country’s foreign affairs.
Last week Friday saw the swearing in of Members of Parliament, Senators, and the swearing in of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker in the Lower House, as well as the President of the Senate, Leader of Government Business and Senate Minority Leader, among others.
Meanwhile, Minister of Information Technology and Cabinet spokesperson Melford Nicholas last week revealed the expected timeline for Parliamentary debate.
“Beyond that, we will have the Budget Presentation on March 2 and a week hence, we will have the Budget Debate and perhaps … we are looking at the middle of March, we will have another formal session of Parliament to have debates on the bills,” he said.