2022 BUDGET PASSES WITHOUT OPPOSITION SUPPORT

The content originally appeared on: The Anguillian Newspaper

The recurrent expenditure estimate of EC$224.58 million, excluding amortisation of EC$35.70 million, fiscal package which the Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ellis Webster, presented to the House for 2 days of debate, passed along party lines with no support from members of the Opposition.
On Day 1 of the debate, the Leader of the Opposition, Mrs. Cora Richardson-Hodge, voiced much criticism of, and expressed disappointment with, the APM’s 2022 Budget Address, saying it “lacks innovation and ideas, and makes a mockery of its theme – Advancing Through Adversity, Restoring Prosperity.”
During her contribution to the Budget Bebate, the Opposition Leader observed: “As I read through the 2022 estimates and the Budget Address, I was struck by the lack of innovation, the lack of strategic direction, and lack of any new ideas.”

She continued: “But this should not be any surprise to the people of Anguilla, because this government came to office with no manifesto – no real plans for the future of the people of Anguilla and the country. It is [therefore] no surprise that, today, we have a lack lustre budget with a lack lustre budget address. It is clear from reading the budget that the only real plan that this APM government has – is to tax its way out of adversity and tax its way into prosperity.”
The Opposition Leader accused the government of campaigning that they can fix Anguilla’s problems but, instead, they have implemented a host of new taxes contributing to hardship on the people of Anguilla. To quote her:

“I want to ask the people of Anguilla whether this government, with some 19 taxes over a period of a year and months, has done better – Do you feel better paying the increase in hospital fees? Do you feel better paying more for basic groceries at the store? Do you feel better paying increase in water rates, increase in ANGLEC rates, increase in fuel charges, increase in transportation costs? Do you feel better paying the increase in agricultural fees? Do you feel better now that the Income Stabilsation Levy, originally imposed under the AUM government between 2010-2015, has now been made permanent under this APM government? Do you feel better paying new and additional taxes on your hard-earned money when you send it off to take care of your family – and send it off to your child at university to pay bills? Do you feel better today, residents of Anguilla?”
The Opposition Leader further stated that the government demonstrates a lack of understanding, empathy and appreciation of how our people are struggling as the budget is primarily based on taxation which directly impacts the people of Anguilla.

She continued: “This budget is what it is because this government came to office with no plans, no thought, no innovation…It is primarily based on taxation – taxation is the order of the day. This government has failed to realise that the big numbers on these [budget] papers are generated from so much additional taxation which directly impacts the ordinary man who has to pay all of these taxes. This [Budget] Address could never be Advancing Through Adversity, Restoring Prosperity.”
After much heated verbal exchanges between the Leader of the Opposition and members of the Government, on Day 1, the Speaker of the House, Mrs. Barbara Webster-Bourne, asked for the removal of the Opposition Leader from the House, and by extension, from the budget debate.
By Day 2 of the debate, all members of the Government had voiced their support for the 2022 Budget, but had failed to persuade any member of the Opposition to support it. Hence, the APM 2022 Budget was passed along party lines as presented.