ST.JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – 19th May 2015……Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne left the country on Tuesday for Saint Kitts and Nevis for the 45th Annual Meeting of the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Board of Governors taking place on May 20 and 21.
Under the theme, ‘Facilitating Growth: Transforming Regional Logistics Infrastructure and Encouraging Youth Entrepreneurship,’ the meeting brings together Governors, Directors and other representatives from the Bank’s 27 member countries.
During the event, CDB will release its Annual Report, Development Effectiveness Review and Special Development Fund Report which provide a comprehensive look at the Bank’s performance in 2014.
Speaking before departing for Saint Kitts and Nevis, Prime Minister Browne applauded the high level of probity, accountability and performance of the CDB and extend congratulations to the Board of Directors in the conduct of its strategic oversight role on behalf of the Board of Governors, and to the management and staff as they execute their functions accordingly.
The country’s leader also congratulated the Bank on securing a revised “stable” rating from Standard and Poor’s in the Agency’s latest report, which also affirmed CDB’s “double A” status on its foreign currency rating. He also revealed that Antigua and Barbuda will continue to accord the CDB “most Favoured creditor” status, irrespective of the country’s fiscal challenges.
During the meeting, two major studies will be released entitled: ‘Making Air Transport Work Better for the Caribbean’ and ‘Youth are the Future: The Imperative of Youth Employment for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean.’ Two seminars exploring the findings will also be staged, with panelists drawn from civil society, public and private sector.
Prime Minister Browne is accompanied by Financial Secretary Whitfield Harris to the meeting.
The Opening Ceremony, lecture and seminars will also be broadcast live on the Annual Meeting’s dedicated microsite, www.caribank.org/BoG45 commencing from 9 am Wednesday.
Chair of the CDB is newly elected Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.
DEEP BAY, Antigua and Barbuda – 12th June 2015……The country’s leader the Honourable Gaston A. Browne, on the eve of his Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party’s (ABLP)first anniversary in office, signed two grant aid agreements in the areas of fisheries and disaster reduction with Japanese Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Takashi Uto.
On the margins of the ABLP’s Anniversary Retreat, Prime Minister Browne and Vice Minister Uto signed a Fisheries Equipment Improvement Project and a Disaster Reduction provision of equipment support grant aid agreement following discussions on a wide range of issues including United Nations Security Council Reform, UN Human Rights Council and Climate Change.
Prime Minister Browne said that Antigua and Barbuda values its relations with Japan as over the years the government of Japan has assisted the country particularly in the areas of Fisheries, JICA Training for government workers and the Grassroots Human Security projects. He also thanked Japan for removing the Per Capita criteria regarding eligibility for grant aid following his discussions with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last year.
Vice-Minister Uto, who is visiting Antigua for the 16th Ministerial Meeting of the OECS on the Sustainable use of Living Marine Resources said that Japan is looking forward to strengthening the relations that exist with Antigua and Barbuda and is prepared to consider providing assistance to the country in the provision of equipment and other resources to develop a deep sea fishing industry.
The talks between Prime Minister Browne and Vice Minister Uto at the Grand Royal Antigua Resort, also included Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs Minister the Hon. Arthur Nibbs and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister the Hon. Charles Fernandez.
Canadian travel giant Sunwing is adding a major new resort project on the island of Antigua.
The company’s Royalton brand is developing the Royalton Antigua Resort and Spa, which is slated to open in 2017.
The $400 million project is set to launch construction this summer in the Deep Bay area of Antigua.
The 500-room property will also include a 200-condominium-unit complex.
The contract on the project was signed by Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Tourism Minister Asot Michael and President and CEO of Sunwing Travel Group Stephen Hunter.
“We are very pleased with this new partnership and what it means for the people of Antigua,” said Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne. “Tourism is vital to our economy and this partnership secures significant growth in revenue and jobs for the years to come.”
Parent company Sunwing, the Canadian travel giant, plans to add new flights to Antigua as well.
That could account for as many as 30,000 new visitors to the island in the first year of the project’s operation, according to the government.
“The island of Antigua has an incredible amount to offer and is an ideal location for a Royalton Luxury Resort. Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his administration understand the needs of the modern traveller and have shown great vision and initiative to create the right conditions for investment,” said Stephen Hunter, President & CEO of the Sunwing Travel Group.
Government is giving an enthusiastic welcome to the sod-turning exercises that marked the start of work on the US $2 billion dollars in- vestment project by the YIDA International Group.In monumental ceremonies, both on mainland Antigua and on Guiana Island, representatives of YIDA International Investment Group, senior government officials, and distinguished persons participated in the exercises. In monumental ceremonies, both on mainland Antigua and on Guiana Island, representatives of YIDA International Investment Group, senior government officials, and distinguished persons participated in the exercises. The primary site for the ceremony was at Barnacle Point.
There the government and the YIDA Group officials ad- dressed the audience. The project will be the first of its kind in Antigua, involving high-end tourism facilities. There will be the establishment of the Antigua Special Economic Zone.
Governor General, His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams welcomed the major transformational investment into the country by the YIDA Group, seeing the income and inputs as significant boosts for the country’s economy.
Prime Minister. Hon Gaston Browne, aptly described the investment to be transfor- mational, stating that it will help to realise the Govern- ment’s dream of making Antigua and Barbuda become an economic powerhouse.
But it was the voices raised in opposition to the project over their environmental concerns, that the Prime Minister gave rational and pragmatic explanation.
PM Browne said he will not allow minority groups or fundamentalists to dictate for the majority of the people. He explained that he is all for listening to the concerns of groups in the society, but in the end, the decision rests with his government.
The Prime Minister called on those opposing the project based on ‘misguided’ or even real environmental concerns, to be balanced in their approach. He said that both the government and the developers will seek to implement the project sensibly and responsibly.
The Morris Bay resort will see the construction of a high end resort valued at US$120Million and Barbuda will benefit from a US$250M luxury resort for high net worth individuals. The property will be developed by a renown American Celebrity and an Australian Billionaire.
Our Government pledged to treat Barbuda and Barbudans as our co-equals and we will ensure that Barbuda is developed concurrently with Antigua. This US$250M investment project will change the economic land scape of Barbuda for the better, providing investment opportunities and hundreds of sustainable jobs for Barbudans.
These and several other smaller properties, will break ground in 2015, stimulating economic growth and development, thereby reversing the many years of economic misfortune.
The cruise and cargo ports will be expanded and modernized to facilitate increased trade. Through assertive leadership, my government in partnership with members in the private sector have been instrumental in attracting more tourists to the island. 2015 will see a significant increase in cruise arrivals, as well as, an increase in stay over visitors.
And 500 new homes will be built in 500 days across the nation.
To date, we have incorporated the National Housing & Urban Renewal Company, a wholly owned government corporation and have capitalized the company primarily through private grant funding, with an initial EC$13M, and a further EC$7 million to follow in a few weeks, bringing the initial capital to EC$20 Million.
The company is presently acquiring and developing land to commence construction in a few weeks.
National Housing will serve as a development company and will also be involved in contracting activities in the public sector to assist with the repairs and maintenance of government buildings.
Government properties that are to be rehabilitated, including the Police Headquarters, the Newgate Street Police Station Building, and Government House.
Our Administration has requested concessionary funding of US$40 million from the Government of Mexico to assist in housing renewal and expansion. We are determined to rid the landscape of all those dilapidated homes that are littered across the country.
It is expected that National Housing will provide several hundred jobs for citizens and residents before the end of the year and thousands of jobs in the near future.
The new University College of Antigua and Barbuda will be launched at Five Islands, a site to which the Antigua State College will be relocated.
The old State College site will become a Secondary School to meet growing demand. In excess of six million dollars will be invested in the decrepit structure that stands unfinished on the college compound. Construction is expected to commence before the end of the year.
Presently, we are pursuing sustainable strategies to resolve the water crisis that has plagued our country for the past year. This includes the acquisition of a mobile reverse osmosis plant to service the English Harbour area, as well increased production from, SembCorp and APUA existing water production facilities.
We will rebuild our country. We will provide hundreds of jobs within our first few months in office. We will put our people back to work and provide them with good quality housing.
And, in that rebuilding there is a place for every willing citizen and resident of our country. No one will be left behind.
One of the architects of the new Antigua and Barbuda is the venerable, emeritus leader of the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party, the Honourable Lester Bryant Bird.
Sir. Lester was an outstanding athlete during his youth. He was an outstanding cricketer, a footballer, and he earned his spurs in high jump and long jump. He subsequently graduated from Grays Inn, London, as a lawyer before returning home to Antigua to practice law. He served our country in excess of 40 years as a Parliamentarian, including18 as Deputy Prime Minister and 10 as Prime Minister.
The Honourable Lester Bryant Bird is a heroic figure in our recent history. Unarguably, he has made the second single largest contribution to the socio-economic advancement of our country.
He is the father of modern Antigua & Barbuda.
In recognition of his contribution and keeping with the authority vested in the Prime Minister by The National Honours (Amendment) Act 2000, the Governor General has been advised, with the concurrence of Cabinet and the Honours Committee, to confer upon this great citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, during the 33rd Anniversary of our country’s Independence, the honour of Knight Companion of the Most Exalted Order of National Hero.
I am certain that Antiguans and Barbudans consider Sir Lester most deserving of this honour and also share the enormous outpouring of love and admiration that we all hold for this outstanding son of the soil.
He will enjoy his flowers while still alive.
My fellow Antiguans and Barbudans, Independence is not just a word or a concept.
Independence is what gives us the right to make our own decisions as a nation; the privilege not to bend our knee to any but God; the opportunity to claim our entitlements in the international community and to resist the pressures and demands of external forces.
But, we will not preserve our independence like large nations with military might; we can only defend it and enlarge it by economic success.
That is why we all have to work together; strive together and achieve together. That is why we must work in unison in the transformation of our country into an economic powerhouse in the Caribbean.
Independence is a time for rejoicing and reflection on past challenges and achievements.
It is also a time to look to the future.
The Antigua and Barbuda we want for our children and their children is one that perpetually rises – producing jobs, and communities free of crime.
We want an Antigua and Barbuda where everyone can share in prosperity; where opportunities are available to all who are willing.
Achieving those worthy goals is within our capacity and within our reach.
Let us make this 33rd Anniversary of Independence, a celebration of Team Antigua and Barbuda, and all that our nation can achieve as one.
I am happy to lead this team and to lead by example of hard work, sharp focus and a resolve to deliver.
I invite you all to join me, in what for all of us, will be an exciting, dynamic and wholly beneficial journey in the advancement of our nation.
God bless our beautiful twin island state.
ST.JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – 2nd November 2014………On Saturday 1st November, His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies, The Duke of Castro, Grand Master of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George and Princess Camile and His Eminence Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino, Grand Prior of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George and members of the Order commenced a four-day visit to Antigua and Barbuda.
The Party received a Guard of Honour upon arrival and during the course of day one of their visit, met with Governor General Sir Rodney Williams and Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne and members of his Cabinet and other government officials.
We present to you photos of Day One of the visit.
ST.JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – 1st November, 2014….. Preparations are well advanced for confering of the National Honour of Knight Companion of the Most Exalted Order of National Hero on Former Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and Parliamentary Representative of the St. John’s Rural East Constituency, the Hon. Lester Bryant Bird at the National Ceremonial Parade on Monday.
Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne in his address to the nation to celebrate the country’s 33rd Anniversary of Independence, announced that the Hon. Lester Bird is one of the architects of the new Antigua and Barbuda and is deserving of the country’s highest honour.
“Sir. Lester was an outstanding athlete during his youth. He was an outstanding cricketer, a footballer, and he earned his spurs in high jump and long jump. He subsequently graduated from Grays Inn, London, as a lawyer before returning home to Antigua to practice law. He served our country in excess of 40 years as a Parliamentarian, including 18 as Deputy Prime Minister and 10 as Prime Minister,” the Hon. Gaston Browne stated.
He said that the Honourable Lester Bryant Bird is a heroic figure in the country’s recent history, pointing out that unarguably, he has made the second single largest contribution to the socio-economic advancement of Antigua and Barbuda.
“He is the father of modern Antigua & Barbuda. I am certain that Antiguans and Barbudans consider the Hon. Lester Bird most deserving of this honour and also share the enormous outpouring of love and admiration that we all hold for this outstanding son of the soil,” PM Browne concluded.
Following the tapping on the shoulders with the sword by Governor General Sir Rodney Williams and the placement of the insignias of the Order of National Hero, the former prime minister will be known as The Right Honourable Sir Lester Bryant Bird.
The National Ceremonial Parade will commence at 7:45 a.m. at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium at North Sound on Monday 3rd November.