ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Prime Minister Gaston Browne says his administration is considering granting an amnesty to illegal migrants as he urged all people on the island to work together to help Antigua and Barbuda rebound economically and socially from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The virus has killed 117 people and infected 4,162 others since March last year.
Browne, speaking on his weekend radio programme, said that the island was showing signs of significant recovery from the pandemic and was hoping that persons would put aside political differences in ensuring the continued socio-economic development of the country.
“We expect everyone to sweat. The Bible says by the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread and I want everybody to eat bread, so you have to sweat, you have to work, you have to perform and that is the call I will be making in my New Year speech for 2022,” Browne said.
“I want to say here that every single person on the island, even if you are not a citizen, even if you are an illegal immigrant, we want you to be part of this strong recovery. In fact, I am contemplating whether or not we should not perhaps give an amnesty to the immigrants here who, for whatever reasons, may be here illegally.
“We don’t want anybody to be in a situation where they cannot contribute…so that’s a discussion I will be having with my colleagues next week…and they will tell me whether or not we give an amnesty to the immigrants who are here”.
Browne said that Antigua and Barbuda has always had to deal with migrants who have been in the country for more than 15 years and are “now well integrated in our society, they have homes, they work and they have children.
“We have to be flexible enough to allow for some form of integration of these individuals in society as we seek to get the contribution of all. So I will certainly speak further on that issue of a possible amnesty,” Browne told radio listeners.