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New Year Address Proved Sir John Wrong, Says PM

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Contact: Prime Minister's Press Secretary

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony says he is "not the least surprised" that UWP Leader, Sir John Compton, suggested – even before hearing it -- that his 2006 New Year Address to the Nation would be "diatribe".

According to Dr Anthony: "Sir John could not have found any other way to describe the address, because it exposed the shallowness of his persistent criticism of the Labour Administration's handling of the economy and the general affairs of the country.”

“By now,” he said, “right-thinking people have come to recognize the diet of verbiage from his weekly pronouncements."

Contacted in advance by the local media for a preview of what he expected the Prime Minister to say in his New Year’s address, Sir John said on Monday that he expected "nothing but the usual diatribe."

But, Prime Minister Anthony says, "it's quite clear that the address proved that all Sir John's predictions about the economy were wrong."

“After all,” Dr Anthony noted, "the economy grew by 5% last year, following a growth rate of almost 4% in 2004; and we were able to give Public Officers a 10% increase, which is the highest in the past 25 years."

Said the PM: "I recall the UWP Leader gleefully suggesting the other day, that Civil Servants were given the lowest wage increases under this administration."

He continued: "I guess the address was disappointing to Sir John, because all the major economic indicators are positive: economic growth is robust, unemployment is declining, investments are at an all-time high and the government's deficit is closing."

He continued: "He must say it’s diatribe, because the speech shows that the fiscal situation has improved and the government has expanded its services to every corner of the island."

"It has to be diatribe to Sir John," PM Anthony continued, "because it proves that all his predictions have been wrong."

Dr Anthony recalled: "Sir John had said all along that we could not handle the economy. He once said that growth was fuelled by drugs and money laundering and that tourism is a mess of pottage.”

"However,” Dr Anthony said, “the figures are out and the proof is there for all to see, with last year's 5% increase being the highest in 14 years, including the last four years of the last UWP administration, three of which were spent under Sir John’s watch."

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